Cars.com has been at the forefront of tracking and analyzing car shopper behavior since the 1990s, when consumers still relied on landlines and multiple trips to dealerships to conduct the necessary research needed to make a purchase. As technology advanced, Cars.com led the way in delivering new and improved solutions to make it easier for consumers to get information and connect with dealers. Today, most car shopping and researching happens online and smartphones are used for nearly half (46 percent) of all online shopping activities¹.
“The need for phone calls or emails to dealers during the research phase is dwindling,” said Alex Vetter, president and chief executive officer of Cars.com. “Today’s car shoppers have all the information they need online to make a decision and show up on the lot unannounced. This creates an imperative for Cars.com to help our customers better understand, reach and influence their walk-in traffic, by tracking and understanding their mobile behavior.”
In the “Mobile Car Shopper Survey,” by VerstaReserach, it was found that more than half of car shoppers use their smartphone on dealership lots to get more information. Most often they are looking up vehicle prices (64 percent), or comparing makes and models (51 percent). One-quarter are reading dealership reviews to ensure a positive experience¹.
Cars.com has been tracking and analyzing walk-in behavior on the lot for more than a year through their innovative Lot Insights report, which was the first of its kind in the industry. The reporting has revealed that when Cars.com factors in mobile traffic, the company is generating nearly seven million more physical leads per year that are not consistently recognized within the industry².
“The game has changed,” said Vetter. “The marketplace is more crowded than ever and there’s no shortage of data available, but it’s important to pay attention to and measure the right data. The insights we’re learning about mobile walk-in traffic and what’s truly driving sales is critical to succeeding in today’s environment.”
This year at the 2017 National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Conference & Expo in New Orleans (Jan. 26-29), Cars.com is rolling out new features in their Lot Insights report. The “VDP Details” give customers a glimpse at the specific Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs) a mobile shopper is looking at on their lot. Dealers can also see the VDPs consumers are looking at on competitor’s lots. The report provides valuable information about which vehicles are getting the most attention and why.
As Cars.com has been tracking the evolution of mobile car shopper behavior, the company has made strategic changes to stay ahead of the game and provide the best consumer experience across devices. This includes being the first and only third-party website in the automotive space to go mobile responsive. The massive endeavor, which allows for a seamless site experience across devices, has paid off. In October 2016, Cars.com ranked highest in overall satisfaction among third-parties in J.D. Power’s 2016 Automotive Mobile Site Study℠*.
For more information about the Lot Insights report and new insights from the Mobile Shopper Study, visit Cars.com at the NADA Conference & Expo in New Orleans in booth No. 3147.
¹ Mobile Shopper Study, VerstaReserach, December 2016
² Internal Cars.com Data, 2016, Counts on the lot and near the lot leads and assumes location services is enabled.
*Cars.com received the highest numerical score among 10 third-party mobile web sites in the J.D. Power 2016 Automobile Mobile Site (AMS) Study, based on 11,576 total responses, measuring the opinions of vehicle shoppers who intend to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next two years, surveyed July -August 2016. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com