Posted: Thursday 18th April 2019 in Performance Marketing.

As consumers, we like the ability to choose things that matter to us when we are looking to buy anything. However, it gives us too much to choose from and our brains simply can’t cope or process multiple decisions, multiple times. We end up disengaging from the process or in making a decision that is close enough rather than what we really want.

Given the complex journey of buying your next car, how can OEMs and retailers effectively enable a more personalised journey for customers to find what they want? The power of the nudge!

We conducted a qualitative study with a global OEM partner and the team of psychologists at Innovation Bubble to understand more and be able to try and find some answers to these questions, selections and choices in our first in this series of ‘Moments that Matter’.

What our research uncovered

We interviewed several consumers and tracked the processes they made in their own car buying journey. The car configuration journey online can offer an ideal way to personalise and build your ideal version of your chosen car. 

One of the key challenges for consumers in the research phase of buying a car is the assembly line and the way that the process seems to work with online configurators, and the millions of micro options that appear when you choose one element (pack A of tech may not fit with pack C of heated seats). This can lead an eye-watering number of combinations. We calculated that one premium brand had up to 10 billion combinations and configurations over 3 model ranges, so the sample of consumers, after an amount of time, left the process often confused and overwhelmed with the amount of decisions needed.

The frustration of  coming back to  complete a configuration at a later date, only to have to start all over again, or to walk into a showroom and have to explain what they had chosen left our consumers frustrated with a process that, with the right approach and tools, could be so much easier.

Learning from the market and other retailers who also want to offer choice but simplicity, it is possible to nudge consumers to a reduced number of pre-configured options which they could then personalise if they wanted to.

Entry level, mid-range or luxury, for example, would enable a consumer to start from the right point or price bracket more quickly.

One of the best examples of a high street business offering simplicity and choice is Starbucks. They lead with 5 main choices of coffee combinations however allow any consumer to completely bespoke an order if they wish.

When it comes to a typical car buying journey, we noticed that each of our consumers followed a different path with some key pivotal moments that are common in most car buying journeys.

Consumers often have a trigger or a starting point in their journey. Budget plays a large part in where a consumer starts before they proceed to narrow down the choices which are largely driven by need and life stage. The ability to value what you already have has become much more transparent with disruptors making it easier for consumers to sell their old car before they set foot in a showroom.

OEMs who have offered a simple way to build and spec with monthly increments in pricing online have seen an increase in consumer spend. Showing a monthly impact of maybe £5-£10 per month is perceived to be much more affordable by consumers versus the larger amount for spec and optional extras when seen as a large one-off increase.

Social bias can also play a huge role in the nudge, as consumers shop at Amazon, we are more than happy to be steered towards products and services that people like us may have bought or viewed, it makes it less time consuming and we recognise that technology can help us find things.

People with young families may choose to specify safety features such as Isofix or tinted windows, those with older children with choose for in car entertainment to keep demanding passengers happy on journeys.

How can OEMs and retailers adapt?

So, in summary, OEMs and retailers need to make it easier and simpler to find and personalise what they’re looking for. Too much selection and choice are a big turn off; consumers have high expectations online that should be intuitive and easy.

The ability to show simple monthly pricing along with stock and availability should empower consumers to narrow down the choices and make decisions more quickly when buying online or instore.

drivvn (previously Summit Automotive) has built the latest generation sales led configurator that seeks to address some of these challenges, largely driven by our own experience in the automotive space, and this study conducted last year with a global OEM partner. 

To find out more, head to the drivvn website today.