On March 29, 2017, J.D. Power released results from their 2017 U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device. Their findings ranked Cars.com highest in Overall Desktop Website Satisfaction and Kelley Blue Book Highest in Overall Mobile Website Satisfaction.
Each automotive third-party website has its own individual strengths and weaknesses when delivering content across device platforms.
The redesigned study concurrently evaluates automotive third-party websites from two perspectives across multiple platforms (desktop/mobile): overall site function and the importance of various site features to online shoppers. This study examines which current site functions and designs are most effective in helping shoppers narrow their consideration set and increasing their likelihood to recommend and return to the website.
“Over the past five years, we’ve seen an explosion of innovation that has been employed by third-party automotive sites, among others, to guide automotive shoppers through the process,” said Thomas King, vice president of PIN OEM operations, media & marketing at J.D. Power. “However, in the end, it always comes back to content and we have found that the top-performing sites are better at delivering key information on different devices.”
In order to maximize website update efforts and reduce development costs, automotive brands need an understanding of what drives satisfaction with third-party sites and ultimately increases return visits and advocacy, and must look to the top performers to understand what sets them apart. Cars.com and Kelley Blue Book, which are the top-ranking brands in desktop and mobile satisfaction, offer a great experience in key ways.
Cars.com offers shoppers very detailed vehicle feature and specification information in an intuitive way to access information.
Additionally, Cars.com offers a wealth of other tools to help shoppers choose the right vehicle, including multiple financial calculators, inventory search and consumer/expert and dealer reviews.
Kelley Blue Book consistently offers intuitive dealer locator and inventory search tools that are critical to mobile shoppers, particularly those who are actively shopping. Furthermore, the site offers platform-appropriate content such as 360 exterior/interior viewers to help shoppers understand the vehicles inside and out.
Desktop and mobile rankings (separately awarded) are based on the combined index scores of the four measures that comprise the overall website experience: navigation; appearance; information/content; and speed. Satisfaction is based on a 1,000-point scale.
Cars.com ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party desktop websites (798), followed by Edmunds.com (797) and Carfax (785).
Kelly Blue Book ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party mobile websites (794), followed by CarGurus (790), The Car Connection (782) and U.S. News Best Cars (782).
Additional key findings of the 2017 study include:
The study finds that 76% of highly satisfied shoppers (overall satisfaction scores of 901 or higher) using third-party websites say they “definitely will” return to the website in the future, and 75% say they “definitely will” recommend the site, while only 3% of displeased shoppers (scores of 500 or less) say they “definitely will” return and only 2% say they “definitely will” recommend.
Among the four main measures (navigation, appearance, information/content, speed), website satisfaction is lowest for navigation. Shoppers using a desktop computer (762) have a significantly better experience when navigating automotive websites, compared to mobile users (754).
Across all measure and attributes, those shopping for new vehicles have a more satisfying experience than used/certified pre-owned vehicle shoppers (773 vs. 755, respectively). The largest gap is for vehicle pricing information (754 vs. 726, respectively).
About the Study
The 2017 Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device is based on 8,525 evaluations of automotive manufacturer websites by new and used-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a vehicle within the next 24 months, with 4,259 being desktop evaluations and 4,266 being mobile evaluations. The study was fielded in January 2017.
Websites evaluated in the study were selected based on meeting the following criteria: must be an automotive third-party site; have the ability for consumers to shop for both new and used vehicles; and be among the most frequently visited sites based on behavioral data.
For more information about the 2017 U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device, visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-automotive-website-evaluation-study- cross-device.