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Online Build and Price Tool Significantly Improves Customer Satisfaction with Manufacturer Websites and Increases Dealership Visits

Online Build and Price Tool Significantly Improves Customer Satisfaction with Manufacturer Websites and Increases Dealership Visits

By Jeff Youngs,

The "build and price" function is by far the most popular tool on automaker websites, according to the just-published J.D. Power 2015 Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM--Winter. The study finds that 85% of in-market shoppers build and price a new vehicle when they shop on an automaker's website.

The study, conducted semiannually, measures the usefulness of automotive manufacturer websites on a 1,000-point scale, considering four factors: information/content, appearance, navigation, and speed. Satisfaction is higher among shoppers who use the build and price tool than among those who do not (801 vs. 770, respectively).

Two primary reasons drive shoppers' use of the build and price tool: to determine whether a vehicle fits in their budget (35%) and to build an ideal vehicle with every feature and accessory they desire (29%). Premium brand shoppers (33%) are more likely to use the build and price tool to build their ideal vehicle vs. non-premium shoppers (26%). Non-premium shoppers are more likely to use the tool for budget reasons (38%) than are premium shoppers (29%).

"There is fierce competition in the automotive industry and a manufacturer's website is a key channel for automakers to show in-market shoppers why they should purchase their vehicles," said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing solutions at J.D. Power. "In fact, the build and price tool is a key differentiator in the online shopping experience for consumers, creating a more satisfying, useful experience when it is well designed. It is critical to help shoppers understand the value of a vehicle as well as the benefits of vehicle trims and accessories, and to help them identify where they can find the vehicle of interest to test drive."

Among new-vehicle shoppers who say they are "delighted" with their experience on an automaker's website (overall satisfaction scores of 901 or higher), 64% indicate they're more likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting the manufacturer's site, compared with just 20% of those who are "disappointed" (satisfaction scores of 500 or below) with a visit to the manufacturer website.

Jeep Ranks Highest among Automaker Websites
Jeep's website ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction (816), followed by Infiniti and Jaguar in a tie (815 each) and Cadillac and Porsche in a tie (814 each). Overall satisfaction with automotive brand websites averages 795. In addition to the build and price tool, shoppers use manufacturer websites to find a vehicle in their shopping area (59%); research vehicle information (50%); and research price-related information (49%).

Additional Research:

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