Sophus3’s Head of Insight, Patrick Fuller, says prioritising customer experience is key to car brands making a success of their ecommerce channels.


“As the car industry enters an era of customer-direct selling, replacing traditional dealerships with an ecommerce approach, the temptation will be to focus on the marketing funnel. It risks losing sight of what matters most: the customer experience – a bit like a sales person immediately offering you a contract when you walk through the door of a dealership. Nothing is more off-putting than the hard sell.”

“Sophus3’s analysis shows that customers enjoy shopping more if they feel like they are in control of the process, and one way to achieve this is to make every interaction more ‘transactional’. This does not mean a contract and signature, but a different sort of transaction where the customer feels like they are making progress towards their goal. We have all been taught to expect this by social media and online gaming, in particular younger demographics who seek a reward for their online interactions.”

“It is therefore essential to develop our understanding of online customer engagement and what makes a customer choose a particular brand. How can digital channels develop that relationship in a positive way?

New finance products and ‘ownership’ models will be key if automotive brands are to create a genuine ecommerce capability. Services such as finance and insurance become opportunities to create a customer relationship earlier in the buying process. Currently, 15% of visits are to Finance and 2% to Insurance, which seems very low given that they are both timely and relevant to most car purchases. So the question auto marketing teams need to ask themselves is: ‘should we be exploiting our services more in the buying process?’.”

Our video is accompanied by our annual white paper on the automotive digital landscape, Digital Car Buyer in Numbers 2023.

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    To understand how your brand truly competes online, contact Sophus3 head of insight, Patrick Fuller: