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Headquarters: Aichi, Japan
Founded: 1937
Industry: Automotive

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Toyota Motor Corporation (TM) is the world’s largest automaker producing more than 10 million vehicles a year. Learn more at www.toyota.com

Examining buyer behavior in a car showroom for Toyota

Visiting the showroom of a car dealership is one of the most influential points in a car buyer’s consumer journey because it allows them to view, touch, and try the car’s features and functions. The showroom floor has a range of advertising and sales material which works together to enhance the consumer experience and hopefully lead to the decision to buy. Conducting shopper research on this space is essential to help sellers optimize the in-store experience.

“In this an 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.”

Mike Bartels
Senior Research Director, Tobii Pro Insight

The question

Toyota wanted to understand what people look at when they’re deciding which car to buy. This included things such as how buyers engage with the showroom, which advertising and sales material captures their attention, and what vehicle features draw the most attention. The company also wanted to know how people in various age groups respond to traditional versus digital marketing material.

The method

To better understand the customer experience, Toyota Canada partnered with our research consultancy team, Tobii Pro Insight, to study the car buyer's journey in a simulated showroom at the Dx3 trade fair in Toronto using eye tracking.

Close to 100 participants were fitted with our eye tracking glasses and asked to explore Toyota's interactive showroom as they would normally do when shopping for a car. The showroom included a Corolla and a RAV4 surrounded by a variety of promotional material, digital displays, and Toyota brand ambassadors. The glasses recorded what the consumers paid attention to, for how long they focused on something, and what they ignored. The participants were divided into two groups: millennials and older shoppers. The behavioral data was then analyzed to establish what elements of the vehicles and marketing material had the biggest impact on purchase intent.

The outcome

The results provided important information about the attention and behavior of the participants, such as how much time they spent looking at individual elements such as car features, window stickers, promotional material and digital displays, and how they divided their attention between these things. Our research revealed that people spent 30 seconds on average viewing the vehicles, with most of their attention focused in the interior. Millennials gravitated towards the interactive displays while older shoppers viewed the textual elements of the display with greater attention. While all promotional material was seen, there was minimal attention on it, however, the digital screens and interactive displays performed much better. These insights are valuable in the design and setup of new showrooms and the type and positioning of POS material in the future.

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