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In our day-to-day lives, we naturally use multiple senses and inputs to gather information. But in the digital domain, the most common way of gathering information is still by text search. Just think about how many times a day you use Google to learn or discover something.

But what if a consumer doesn’t know what they are looking for specifically, or are simply seeking inspiration online? For example, someone looking for their next car may have no specific vehicle in mind at the beginning of the search process.

Gen Z consumers will use other ways of exploring information, such as smart AI search using a phone’s camera or voice search using a virtual assistant such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. These behaviours have been ingrained into the younger generation their whole lives, so as a retailer you should begin to think about how you can utilise these channels to capture the attention of tomorrow’s buyers.

The evolution of search means new opportunities to connect with customers. We’ve described three of the most exciting search trends for automotive retailers below.

Multi-search: when a consumer doesn’t know or knows exactly what they need

One of the ways to search nowadays is multi-search, using text and images at the same time, for example via Google Lens. Users can ask questions about an object in front of them or refine their search by colour or a visual attribute.

Dealerships can make use of this trend, for example, for after-sale services or car parts.

Imagine a car owner who needs a new set of windscreen wipers or headlight bulbs but doesn’t remember the specific details. Using a tool like Google Lens, they can take a picture of their windshield wipers and add text like “VW Caddy Maxi”, this should lead them very easily to the information they need.

Now, what if the windscreen wipers they need are available at your dealership? If your website is search-optimised, your listing may appear in the Google search results, potentially leading that person to purchase them from you. The key is to create a rich web experience, filled with relevant pictures and detailed descriptions, that way it can be so easy to support potential customers in finding the right product online.

Natural, intuitive ways of searching

Part of making search more natural is to make it more visual. 360-degree spins and videos of a vehicle make the viewer feel immersed in the image, not just something they see from a distance, and allow potential car buyers to get behind the wheel – virtually.

75% of car buyers cite video as an important part of their vehicle search.1

Furthermore, 85% of buyers are more likely to take action after watching an online video.2

But for dealerships, creating these assets can be a challenge, requiring hundreds of product photos and costly technology. Here at Modix our simple tool for 360-degree images makes the process easy. The Modix 360° app allows you to take high-quality and immersive 360° spins and videos of your stock and present them on your website connecting potential car buyers with your business.

By providing shoppers with high-quality and compelling 360° images can make your inventory more discoverable. Using the opportunity to scroll through visual results, your immersive imagery can catch the shopper’s eye because it stands out from the crowd.

Search trends after the sale

As people hold onto their vehicles longer and the average vehicle age rises, auto parts and service needs increase. After the sale, the big opportunity therefore is to make service the number one priority.

Retailers can use this opportunity to re-engage customers online and tailor their messaging depending on after-sales needs. Vehicle service options on the website and personalised messaging at the right time can help retain customers after the sale for post-purchase service. Auto parts and service shoppers using mobile search are only a tap away from your business if you use the right communication channel.

Live Chat is a complete messaging platform that puts retailers in direct conversation with customers wherever they’re searching and anytime they need support. Consumers expect and demand immediate answers and if they don’t get them, they will move on. Live Chat provides convenient answers when customers want them.

By understanding how consumers search and shop, retailers can effectively support their customers and keep them coming back.

Our team of digital retail advisors are available to help you drive performance. Get in touch if you are interested in how our products work.

Did you know…

Find out how you can enhance the online experience for car buyers. We had a look at our own customer experience and put together three essential tips for you. Read our next blog post to learn more.


1, 2 Google/Kantar, Belgium, Gearshift 2021: New Car Buyers, Global Report, Aug 2021.