FordDirect revealed the results obtained from its Digital Automotive Shopping Survey at the National Automotive Dealers Association.
According to the findings it is imperative for dealers to have a strong online presence as there are remarkable changes in the way people shop for new or used cars nowadays.
The FordDirect survey collected responses from 1,100 automotive customers in December, 2012. The results helped it gather knowledge about the importance of reputation management and social and digital media when people look for credible dealers before buying new or used vehicles.
About 63 percent of shoppers gave importance to the online reputation of a dealer before going in for purchase. It greatly influenced the buying process as the buyers withdrew from making purchases if a supplier received negative comments online.
But dealers can strive to improve their performance and online ratings if they reply and address customer grievances in a timely fashion. This will help them improve their online status since customers give importance to dealers who respond to negative comments, said analysts of the survey.
The study also found that about 40 percent of auto shoppers access dealer websites via their mobile devices and 42 percent of consumers connect with dealerships via social media to find out about coupons and other incentives.
Videos showing the interiors of a vehicle and technologies featured are preferred by purchasers of both used and new cars on the dealer website.
“These findings point to the importance of active monitoring and response in relation to reputation management for dealers. As social media and review sites grow in popularity, consumers increasingly are turning to them before making purchasing decisions,” added Fuller.
In July 2012, FordDirect a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and its franchise dealers announced the launch of its new Social Media and Reputation Management Service for Ford and Lincoln Dealers. Powered by Digital Air Strike, this service will provide dealers with the proper guidance, tools and resources to enable them to effectively manage their online reputation and social media presence.