Upfront: Make your online presence felt

By Steve Noe

If you’ve paid little or no attention to the online presence of your dealership, you may want to reconsider that stance, and sooner rather than later.

According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study, nearly four out of every five consumers (81 percent) start their major purchase search process online from home. Adding to my sense of urgency for you is that figure increased 20 percent during the past year.

Fascinated by the findings of this study, which examined 12 segments including lawn and garden equipment, I followed up with GE’s Cristy Williams to see if she could provide me with more specifics about the study’s findings for the lawn and garden equipment segment. She kindly shared the following:

* 53 percent of OPE shoppers define their purchase as a “need”

* Top purchase triggers for OPE:

– 35 percent said “old model broke”

– 34 percent wanted a “new/upgraded model”

– 18 percent moved into a new home

* OPE shoppers spend an average of 65 days gathering information before making their purchase (up by 14 days from the 2012 study), and they visit more blogs and message boards during their evaluation

* Keywords during OPE shoppers online research include “product name and reviews”

* Rated “extremely important” to OPE shoppers with GE Capital Retail Bank cards (versus total GE Capital Retail Bank cardholders):

– Ability to buy online: +14 percent

– Easily access product information on retailer’s website: +13 percent

– Has online reviews I can trust: +9 percent

* 60 percent of OPE shoppers purchased on their third visit to the retailer, 25 percent on their second visit, and 16 percent on their first visit

* 21 percent of GE Capital Retail Bank cardholders spent more than planned on their OPE purchase

* 71 percent (the highest of any segment) of OPE shoppers were aware that financing was available for their purchase

As you can see from the study’s findings, establishing and maintaining an online presence is becoming increasingly important in our industry, which is why we have covered this subject at great length for the past two years, and will continue to do so in 2014.

To read any articles that you may have missed or would like to reference, visit our website at www.outdoorpowerequipment.com and search for them in our “Articles and Archives” and “Digital Archives” sections.

Best of luck with expanding your online presence!

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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