What’s driving the purchase decision?
We take a look at the key factors that influence buyer behaviour and how car manufacturers are adapting their brand promises in a fast-changing retail environment.
Car ownership has become firmly embedded in our culture. It’s part of society’s DNA and has been a foremost example of modern independence for decades. In their simplest form, cars are a mode of transport to get you from A to B but for many, they are treasured possessions that enrich our lives. Whatever your perspective, the relationship between humans and vehicles is now in transition as a result of various technological, cultural and socio-economic changes, which are redefining the concept of car ownership.
Over the years, there has been a lot of research within the automotive sector to identify what consumers really want and it’s now an ongoing process. Manufacturers spend billions in creating products designed to tick all the boxes when it comes to meeting a consumer’s practical, aesthetic, emotional and financial expectations. Fundamentally though, there are five main factors that are always at the top of car buyer shopping lists: Efficiency; cost/value; safety and security; reliability; and colour.
Twenty years ago, safety and security were the prime factors in the showroom but today, due in part to high profile media reports, vehicle efficiency is the principal driver for consumers buying new and also those choosing a company car, as this has a bearing on an individual’s tax liability.
Whilst such factors are, in the main, outside of the dealers’ control, motor retailers have had to raise the bar continuously in securing sales against a backdrop of increased competition and economic turbulence. Most recently for example, dealers are being urged to recognise the potential of unaccompanied or extended test drives, as an industry survey found that more than a third of buyers said it would increase their ‘love’ of the vehicle.
According to research by What Car? the rise in choice and popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles is generating a higher demand for test drives, so that potential buyers can make sure that switching to an alternate-fuelled car will fit their daily needs and lifestyle.
On a macro scale, however, the evolution of our relationship with cars is more pronounced. The rise of the ‘gig economy’ through the use of sophisticated global Apps such as the taxi platform, Uber, has paved the way for society to rethink private transportation. For example, the development of ride sharing services, vehicle-on demand and autonomous, connected cars, is leading us, inexorably, to a point where asset ownership may no longer be necessary or desirable.
Against this background, car manufacturers are having to adapt their brand promises in order to hold market share. In essence, a brand promise is a profound pledge to deliver not just a product or service but tangible benefit which differentiates one brand from its competitors. In an automotive context, brands are designed to encourage attraction and loyalty, so that manufacturers compete not just on price but on ‘brand preference’.
Nearly every successful brand promise is effective because the company behind it delivers on that promise, every time. This results in long lasting relationships with customers who also become brand champions in their own right, through advocation and recommendation, hence the term ‘building the brand.’
In addition, strong, consistent representation across all customer touch-points with an organisation helps to build brand equity. This is the ‘added value’ that enables a brand to charge more or sell more than the competition. Often seen as the ability to charge more for an equivalent model because of the brand, this isn’t always the case. A brand positioning of low-cost but high-value, may allow a company to sell at a lower cost but take a larger slice of market share than a brand with perceived higher brand equity.
For well over half a century, Autoglym has built its brand to become the nation’s preferred car care and vehicle protection brand. Proud holders of two Royal Warrants, the company is committed to its ‘passion for perfection’. This pledge is reflected in its support of dealers to give them a competitive edge in the showroom, To discover more about how becoming part of LifeShine’s dealer network can boost your business, call us on 01462 677766 or email email@example.com.
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