Touring the showroom in an automobile dealership is one of the most important parts of the car-buying process. The ability to engage a vehicle in person in all its dimensions is often the tipping point for cementing a purchase. To better understand the influence these spaces have in the car-buying experience, the car buyer's journey was measured in a Toyota showroom at Dx3 in Canada.
The results: car brands only have a 20-second window to influence a consumer's opinion, and, within that window, not everything from the showroom is going to have an effect.
"When it comes to attention, brands often overestimate the level of consumer engagement that they have to work with," said Mike Bartels, Senior Research Director at Tobii Pro Insight. "Consumers start with a broad scan of what is out there, but then they zero in on specific things to the exclusion of everything else. In this all-or-nothing, high-stakes sales environment, it is critical that automotive marketers understand which features influence shoppers to buy and how the showroom can be optimized to make them commit. Through eye tracking, we objectively determined what registered with potential buyers, both young and old."
Eye tracking research consultants from Tobii Pro Insight fitted 92 study participants with Tobii Pro Glasses 2 , a wearable eye tracker, and asked them to explore Toyota's interactive automotive showroom at the Dx3 conference as they would normally do when shopping for a car. The showroom included a Corolla and a RAV4 surrounded by a variety of promotional materials, digital displays, and Toyota brand ambassadors.
The glasses unobtrusively recorded what the consumers paid attention to, for how long they focused on something, and what they ignored, whether that was the vehicle's exterior, under the hood, or a piece of promotional material. The consumers were divided into two groups: Millennials and older shoppers. The collected behavioral data was analyzed to understand what elements of the vehicle and marketing materials had the biggest impact on purchase intent.