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Mobile-First Tech Users are Key for Pickup Truck Sales

Automotive News Dealerships Demographics Millennial & Gen Z

Millennial and Gen Z buyers rely on online research and their smartphones to increase decision-making confidence.

In the last decade pickup trucks have been consistent sales leaders and profit makers across the auto industry and have greatly expanded the audience beyond the traditional workhorse contractor, commercial, farm and ranch vehicle buyers. Enter the millenial and Gen Z driver.

Sales in the US full sized pickup segment rose by 1.9% to 1,174,581 in the first half of 2019 holding steady with a strong 2018 and still healthy margins supported by aggressive pricing.

With high-line premium models costing as much as $70,000 offering bespoke amenities and the latest tech features, pickup trucks are also personal luxury vehicles with power, size and style advantages.

Additionally, the pickup truck has also emerged as the new American family vehicle, riding high and safe above traffic, with spacious extended crew cabs, lots of tech interfaces and USB plugs for kids, plenty of space in the bed for everything from shopping hauls to muddy soccer gear.

Meanwhile, in a sustained growing economy, pickup trucks have been riding a crest of traditional contractor, commercial, farm and ranch markets.

All of the groups that make up the expanded pickup market segment have one thing in common. They are increasingly a mobile-first audience using smartphones as their primary point of contact with dealerships websites and accessing third-party car research resources.

Millennials & Gen Zers particularly rely on online research and their smartphones to improve in-store experience and increase their confidence.

They spend over 4 months and a total of 14.5 hours on the car buying process, but the majority of that – up to 9 hours -- is spent online researching to improve their in-store experience.

Dealerships using the 321 Ignition mobile-first platform offer the full panoply of buying information. Its advanced and responsive customer engagement, intuitive navigation, graphic and marketing messaging tools and techniques provide dealers with a more effective tool to communicate with these prospective buyers.   

Using design and functionality, based on millions of engagements and interactions with customers in other industries, the 321 Ignition platform offers enterprise-class digital marketing capabilities to new and pre-owned dealerships to maximize customer contacts and increase sales conversions.  

Informed consumers are looking for special offers, incentives and clear breakdowns of models, trim levels, safety features and warranty protections. These are the salient details that the 321 Ignition platform incorporates, organizes and delivers with impact and clarity.

However, with increased competition in the pickup truck marketplace, dealerships with the most effective online resources are best positioned to make significant sales advances. While a traditional auto showroom staff can be motivated and incentivized to maximize sales, the newest crop of Millennial and Gen Z buyers are resistant to salesmanship versus a customer service-oriented approach.

These buyers are also time challenged and have high expectations of comprehensive transparency in the process. They are suspicious of traditional showroom sales tactics. Going to a dealership website must be a satisfying and productive experience. These tech-savvy consumers know that with a very little bit of online research, detailed information on the dealer cost on every make and model is widely available from multiple sources.

Faced with a poorly organized website with awkward and cumbersome navigation and functionality, up to 60% of millennial and Gen Z customers visiting auto dealership websites leave without enough information to make a decision.

Based on the results of dealerships using the platform, consumers overwhelmingly prefer the 321 Ignition web-rooming experience. The average site visit lasting over 12 minutes and 31 seconds. This is 2 to 3 times higher than average visit times of market leaders like Autotrader.com (6:05), Cargurus.com (4:51), and Carmax.com (4:58).

321 Ignition dealerships have also experienced 389% increase in direct website traffic. The percentage visitors returning to the site has increased by 257% to do more research, resulting in an overall average traffic increase of 131%.

Dealerships on the 321 Ignition platform also report up to triple the number of unique leads with an 81% loan pre-approval application start to completion rate. Producing consistent results across all vehicle segments are especially lucrative in the healthy margin pickup truck and SUV categories, dropping significant additional profits to the bottom line.