When new cars hit the showrooms in October, consumers will see some exciting new technology as they test-drive the latest models. But as dealers get ready to sell new vehicles, the way Americans are shopping for cars and the path to purchasing them is changing almost as fast as the technology in the cars themselves.
First up, for both consumers and marketers alike, the connected car is about to go from concept to reality in the 2015 lineup. While we heard a lot of buzz about wifi appearing cars in 2012, its headed mainstream this year.
General Motors recently announced that its entire portfolio will include connected cars—in every brand it sells ranging from the $17,000 Chevy Spark sub-compacts to tough GMC trucks to top of the line Cadillac luxury vehicles. With this decision, the auto giant is set to test how much consumers are willing to pay for the service and how far cars will go as mobile devices. The auto giant will charge OnStar subscribers $5 a month for 4G LTE wireless access, effectively turning its vehicles into mobile hotspots that support connections for as many as seven devices at a time.
Here are some highlights:
The basic plan includes 200 MB of data per month—enough to send up to 10,000 emails or browse the Internet for 13 hours.
Optional plans will allow up 5 GB of data for $50.
AT&T users will be able to add their GM vehicle to their mobile share plan for $10 a month
While consumers will connect via their new cars—perhaps creating new troves of data to mine—their path to purchasing those cars also continues its move online as well as onto tablets and smart phones.
While its no secret that the majority of consumers do research online prior to purchasing a vehicle, many are now coming closer to completing the sale via the Internet, citing ease of purchase, time savings and no-haggle policies.
As behavior changes, popular third-party services that match consumers with a car at a dealership are expanding, including one provided by Costco. TrueCar, an online car buying service, recently completed a study that concludes that consumers value transparency in buying new cars.
“Showrooming” is the practice of using a mobile device to find a better deal online or at a competing location and it’s growing when it comes to auto sales, according to a new study by Placed Inc. commissioned by Cars.com.
Here’s what you need to know:
Eight out of 10 car shoppers use smart phones to do research when buying a car. Of car shoppers who say they rely on their devices, 63% use their phones while at a dealership.
Mobile ads played a clear role in influencing shoppers—33% of those surveyed say they visited a competing dealership based on a mobile ad they saw while already on a dealer’s lot.
72% of those using mobile devices are more likely to visit an additional dealership, with half saying they did so because of information gathered via their smart phone or tablet.
The bottom line: “Retailers should take immediate action to make mobile a cornerstone of their marketing strategy or risk losing out to mobile-savvy competitors,” Cars.com SVP Alex Vetter told Ad Week.