SpinCar and IHS Markit announced the results of a six-month study aimed at measuring the impact of digital merchandising for automotive dealers. The Digital Merchandising Impact Study examined the relationship between shopper behaviors on dealer websites and vehicle purchase rates.
For the study, SpinCar analyzed digital merchandising engagement behaviors and vehicle purchases of 4 million consumers who visited more than 200 dealer websites from July through November 2020. Polk Automotive Solutions by IHS Markit provided vehicle purchase analysis that was used in the study.
“For years, automotive dealers, OEMs and software providers have been trying to clearly understand the relationship between the online shopper experience and vehicle purchase,” said Joe Kyriakoza, vice president and general manager, Polk Automotive Solutions by IHS Markit. “The release of this study represents a key milestone in the auto industry by providing empirical evidence that validates the importance of effective digital merchandising. We are excited to be working with SpinCar to help dealers understand the key drivers of sales performance for their business.”
Key findings from the study include:
- The level of shopper engagement with merchandising tools on a dealer website is a strong indicator of propensity to purchase. Shoppers exhibiting the highest levels of engagement purchased vehicles at more than two times the rate of unengaged shoppers, while even moderately engaged or somewhat engaged shoppers purchased at measurably higher rates (50% and 10% higher, respectively) than unengaged shoppers.
- Shopper engagement with specific merchandising tools correlates with higher vehicle purchase rates. Shoppers who engaged with vehicle photos on a dealer’s website purchased at a 45% higher rate than unengaged shoppers, while those who also engaged with 360° walkarounds purchased at a 64% higher rate. Shoppers who demonstrated even greater interest by exploring specific vehicle features or F&I products on a dealer’s website purchased at even higher rates (128% and 134% higher, respectively).
- Vehicle buyers demonstrate significantly higher online merchandising engagement levels than non-buyers. Buyers who purchased from a competing dealership clicked on 70% to 80% more photos, 360° walkarounds and features than non-buyers, while buyers who visited a dealer website and then purchased from that particular dealership clicked on three to five times as many photos, 360° walkarounds and features vs website visitors who did not make a purchase.
“Automotive dealers have long known that online engagement is a key indicator of shopper interest, but until now there have been few published studies that have quantified the impact of their digital merchandising efforts on actual vehicle purchases,” said Devin Daly, SpinCar co-founder and CEO. “The purchase data provided by IHS Markit was invaluable in helping us to finally close the loop on understanding the full shopper journey. While this study definitively proves the relationship between merchandising engagement levels and vehicle purchases, we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to predicting a shopper’s likelihood to purchase based on their online behavior. We look forward to continuing our work with IHS Markit to help dealers understand and leverage the first-party behavioral data they are generating from their websites to drive even greater levels of performance for their dealerships.”