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Modern Car Buying: Steps To The Purchase In Today's Digital Marketplace (Infographic)

Wrong... Not any more, because these are the Steps to Buying a Car in the Digital Age!



For over a hundred years, every year we see new car models that change and improve from the previous year... So has car buying!

Since Henry Ford sent his the first Model T to market, the steps to buying a car have not changed all that much. Today, car buying is just like it was during the heyday of Packard’s “Ask the Man Who Owns One.”. That's right, people have been expressing their opinions about vehicles and car dealerships in a manner destined to change other car buyer's purchase decisions.

What is different is that today a car buyer’s shopping and purchase research experience is able to access a much wider array of resources...

Some, are more reliable resources than others; trusted coworkers, friends, family, and online reviews from independent sources. Each of these information sources seeking to influence their purchase decision. The auto buying infographic shown below is from the "Addthis" people and portrays what car buyers are thinking, and seeking out during the shopping and post-purchase phases of the vehicle buying cycle.


Car buyers, on average, go through more research and prep than buyers of other consumer products before closing the sale at a car dealership.

They've always asked friends and family for all sorts of advice, but today they browse and post on their social networks for information. They go to Google and search the web for reviews from other car buyers to help them make a decision they’ll be happy with. Do they pay attention to information from car dealers and car companies? Sure they do... But what they see from other consumers, and hear from friends and family weigh a lot more on their purchase decisions.


All their hard work has the potential of creating a better informed and satisfied car buyer.

If they get the right experience at the dealership, these car buyers are willing and eager to become loyal brand advocates following their purchase. This has the potential of being a big plus for car dealerships and car companies that do the right things.


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Tags: Car Buying, Car Dealer, Digital, Infographic, Marketplace, Modern, Purchase, Steps To The


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Comment by Christopher Bouchard on October 29, 2015 at 6:42am

Ralph, I was wondering how dealers can obtain consumer vehicle reviews for their VDPs. This could mean the dealer's customers or any consumers who own these particular vehicles. I've seen plenty of dealers that have dealership reviews, which are great, but it would be helpful to include vehicle reviews for vehicle shopper research and comparison. is a great example

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 28, 2015 at 11:11pm

Chris and Michael... first of all, Michael why did you take your last name off your profile? I would think that you'd be proud of it... Ok, as for GETTING Review from customers, that problem has been solved by so many dealers that it is no longer a challenge, it is about process execution. Two parts of the "Get More Reviews" strategy:

1. While Customers are at the dealership

2. When Customers are not at the dealership

Just like selling F and I products... Ask every customer to write a review... Let them know they have a voice and their opinions matter. An automated email should go out to every single vehicle buyer and service customer containing links to the biggest review sites and directly to where they write their review of your dealership... I cannot believe I am restating this tactic again SMH.

Have a special landing page titled with your dealership name instead... On that landing page offer the icons for each of the major review sites for your dealership, this can be used both for those who want to read your reviews and as a jump page for customers to choose which review site they feel most comfortable with for writing a review.

  • A good example of a dealer engineered landing page to attract more reviews from people they have sold or serviced is
  • Paragon Honda has a "You Have a Voice" landing page to make it easy for customers to post reviews and for prospective customers to read reviews as well:

Both of these types of dealer owned and created landing pages are invaluable for email, phone and text communications, plus they show up on page 1 SERP when a customer searches for reviews about their brand and dealership.  There are hundreds of other examples like these from dealers who have used this as part of their strategy to accumulate hundreds of sales and service reviews... In some cases, like Brickell Honda, thousands!

Comment by Christopher Bouchard on October 28, 2015 at 11:22am

Great question, Michael.

Obtaining consumer reviews would definitely be a challenge, but could be done if dealers gave their customers incentive to write reviews on vehicles they've purchased. Some vehicle data providers and/or dealer service providers are able to pull-in objective 3rd party data, such as vehicle reviews/overviews, awards and accolades, and safety ratings data. 

Comment by Michael on October 28, 2015 at 7:46am

So Ralph, 

Sound advice from Christopher here, but, how best does a car dealer 'share' reviews from objective third party sources, i.e.; google...? Just via links or?

Comment by Christopher Bouchard on October 28, 2015 at 6:51am

Great post, Ralph. I think car buyers would be much more engaged with dealer websites if they were able to access reviews and a wealth of research information right on the VDPs. Amazon is a great example of a website that doesn't require much additional cross-shopping, as they've provided a great research tool. Though purchasing a vehicle is a greater commitment and requires more research than the average Amazon product, it would certainly help if dealer sites included more helpful resources than vehicle details and specs.  

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