While 96% of car buyers researched online and consulted an average of six different online touch points, research showed that 98% of purchase decisions were still made at the physical dealership.
But COVID completely changed the car buying journey!
New reasons to shop emerged
With COVID, new forces were shaping the automotive market. Leveraging a semantic research tool, a technology that determines what users mean when they type in certain keywords, we identified multiple new need states and emerging consumer trends, such as:
1. 38% of the population abandoned public transit and could be looking for alternative modes of transportation. (GWI Spring 2020)
2. Divorce was rising +20%, which could bring a new type of consumer into the category (Nussbaum Family Law). Families who owned one high-end vehicle might consider trading it for two entry-level models.
3. Increased price sensitivity exacerbated by market uncertainty drove 37% of consumers to consider used vehicles. (Corus Auto Study 2020).
1- Adapt to cost-conscious consumers’ shopping journey
2- Finding data signals specific to new shopping behaviours
3- Integrate the dealership network
The Virtual Showroom is a unique buying experience, based on the "choose your own adventure" concept.
Consumers looking for a used car were directed to the virtual showroom, which fitted a comparable new VW model, just as a salesperson would.
To bring it to life, we partnered with AutoTrader, Canada's leader in new and used car markets. Autotrader had the data and targeting capabilities to create this shopping experience.
The Virtual Showroom complemented the Volkswagen website by integrating AutoTrader's editorial content and providing advice between car options (new and used) through comparisons and a chatbot.
Virtual Showroom has also recognized the vital role dealers play in closing sales through :
- Live listings of nearby dealers, for all 146 VW dealers.
- Real-time offers, linked to the regional sales program.
First, AutoTrader leveraged its organic traffic to generate visits. Secondly, we activated new audiences (divorce, etc.) both outside and inside the AutoTrader ecosystem.
Unlike the Volkswagen website, the showroom promoted incrementality by also positioning our attractive new car offerings for buyers considering a used vehicle due to the state of the economy.