Last week, a team of Gurus and I made the trip to Las Vegas for Digital Dealer 25. The annual conference is one of our favorites, and this year was no exception. The exhibit hall was packed, we had great conversations with many dealers, and we were happy to hear some of the themes speakers kept coming back to during the educational sessions. Here are our five takeaways from the event.
- The way consumers research and shop for cars has changed—and the sales process needs to change with it. The three hours car buyers spend at a dealership is no longer the most important time in the shopping process—it’s the time they’re spending online conducting research and gathering information that’s most influential in their journey. More and more shoppers are making their decision before ever arriving at a dealership, and dealers need to shift their marketing strategy to digital if they want to get shoppers to their lot.
- The biggest decision people are making during the shopping process isn’t which car they’ll buy, it’s which dealership they’ll visit. For shoppers, it’s no longer about the best price, it’s about the best experience—and dealers who provide the convenience and transparency shoppers crave will see continued success. Providing a seamless shopping process across online and offline, and enabling shoppers to get the answers they want, when they want them are key to winning more shoppers.
- Video is king. Over 75% of car shoppers say that online video has influenced their shopping habits or purchases, and that number will only continue to grow. So, if a dealer wants to put their cars where the audience is, they need to invest in video. Videos don’t have to be professionally produced—or even very long—they just need to be available online to engage potential buyers.
- The path to purchase is not linear—it’s varied and complex, which means attribution is more important than ever. Last-click attribution has always been popular with dealers, but new models like multi-touch and time decay more accurately value a shopper’s different touchpoints along their scattered purchase journey. Until there’s a one-size-fits-all solution for dealers, we expect that attribution will continue to be a hot topic.
- Mobile continues to push shoppers forward in the buying journey. While it’s nothing new, it’s worth noting that the dominance of mobile was a reoccurring theme throughout the conference. As shoppers lean on mobile more than ever before during the car shopping process, dealers must optimize their advertising, marketing and sales strategies to keep up.
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