Mazda's Internet Gamble

UK Mazda dealers are poised to launch a range of interactive online tools on the back of survey findings (such as Mindshare's Interactive Media Survey), which suggest that more customers are considering researching new car purchases online.

However, there is a downside to this research: while Mindshare's data shows that 51.1% of shoppers made internet purchases during 2010, other data suggests that most people find online car research a bit of a nightmare.  While 52% say they "would consider" purchasing a car through the internet (according to research by Alphera), when push comes to shove only 4% say they would definitely do so.

Even so, Mazda's public website template (which dealers can buy in to) is to go ahead.  It includes marketing and sales tools for both customers and retailers (such as information on purchasing parts and accessories and a stock-checker for used vehicles).

Alphera spokesman Kirk Franks said that the sheer variety of carmarker information on the web was a "minefield" for the average person, so Mazda is undoubtedly taking a gamble with this marketing strategy.  However, the Alphera study also shows that this bewildering array of data tends to direct people toward their car dealer as the most reliable source of information, so it is a gamble that could well pay dividends.

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