Star ratings and car dealer reviews are the first impression customers have of a dealership when they begin their search for a new car. Automotive News has reported that 91% of shoppers use online reviews to choose which auto dealerships to visit.
What is the impact of online ratings and reviews on buyer behavior? This case study, based on the experience of over 1,800 dealerships for a Big Three automaker, shows that a 150-point improvement in Reputation Score generates a 6% increase in unit sales.
Leading U.S. auto dealer with more than 1,800 dealerships
- Improve Reputation Scores for all of its 1,800 U.S. dealerships
- Increase review volume while reducing negative review sentiment
- Increase overall star ratings across the organization
This Big Three automaker was keenly aware of the significant impact of digital engagement and online reputation in consumer decision-making, and that 9 out of 10 car shoppers use online ratings and car dealer reviews to choose which dealerships to visit. They understood that by the time prospective car buyers step into a dealership, they’re not there to browse — they’re ready to buy.
The automaker’s goal was straightforward: To improve sales across the board, it needed to improve the customer experience — measured using Reputation.com’s Reputation Score — for all of its 1,800 U.S. dealerships.
Reputation.com worked with the automaker to increase the volume of their car dealer reviews, improve star ratings, and boost dealer prominence in local search results for all 1,800 of its dealerships.
The solution, powered by Reputation.com’s platform, enabled each dealership to:
- See all reviews across automotive sites such as Cars.com and mainstream review sites, including Google and Facebook
- Get real-time alerts when new car dealer reviews are posted
- Understand its Reputation Score – and compare it to competitors
- Analyze review content for trends in star rating, sentiment, volume, Reputation Score and more
- Gain valuable operational insight from customer feedback
- Use kiosks and surveys to get more real reviews from real customers
In just six months, the automaker saw significant results:
- Review volume jumped 325%
- Negative review sentiment dropped 30%
- Boosted average star rating from 3.5 to 4.5
Along with increased star ratings and positive sentiment, Reputation Score shot up 150 points. But the most significant improvement was to the company’s bottom line — a 6% increase in average seasonally-adjusted sales.
an increase in Reputation Score of 150 points caused a 6% boost in sales
ORM Boosts ROI, Sales
Among all of this auto dealers locations, dealerships that took advantage of Reputation.com’s Social Media Suite were able to reach about 40% more people online compared with those who didn’t. And, those dealerships also grew conversion rates 56% faster in the second half of 2017, compared to the first half of the year.
As a result, online-sourced sales for the dealerships implementing ORM strategies through the Reputation.com platform grew 24% faster than the other locations.