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Car shoppers on phablets access more content, driving satisfaction: report

Mobile shoppers in the market for a car and using a larger, phablet-style phone versus a smaller smartphone access a wider range of Web site content, especially interactive content such as video, according to a new report from J.D. Power.

Larger smartphones are growing in popularity with consumers and with device manufacturers, and the technology allows for a more convenient and optimized experience in engaging with retail content such as shopping for vehicles. Auto retailers must compensate for this new facet of device, and showcase a greater amount of visuals and allow for easy navigation.

“As manufacturer and third party automotive website designers think about modifying and redesigning their websites, it is critical to think about the different screen sizes and how the site will be used,” said Arianne Walker, senior director of automotive media and marketing at J.D. Power. “Navigation is one of the biggest differentiators for a great experience on a smartphone.

“With all of the great content available today, making it easy and intuitive to access is critical, especially on the smaller screen sizes that are smartphones,” she said.

Phablet rise
The report shows that consumers on mobile smartphones with screens larger than 5.5 inches were significantly more pleased with their Web site experience compared to those with smaller screens. Of those surveyed 797 claimed to enjoy their experience on a phablet device compared to 771 without.

The term phablet refers to larger smartphone devices that emulate tablets, but are smaller and are considered mobile phones.

These retailers need to focus on optimizing content, navigation and appearance on smaller devices as well as phablets, as user satisfaction greatly varied in these aspects. These facets of a digital experience can make or break a retailer in terms of sales and customer satisfaction.

The report also showed that shoppers were more satisfied when engaging with more content, and users with phablets accessed a more substantial amount of content. Retailers need to be sure to develop an interface that allows easy access on smartphones as well, so users will be more inclined to engage with more content.

Retailer tools
Consumers who were satisfied with 13 or more tools within an atuo retailer’s digital product made up 805 of those surveyed, and those satisfied who only engaged with 12 tools or less made up 745.

However, no matter how the Web site is accessed it makes for a key portion of the shopping process for customers. For shoppers who accessed a brand or retailer’s Web site, 66 percent of them noted they are more likely to come in for a test drive.

“The fact that the larger screen size of the phablets resulted in significantly higher satisfaction scores was a bit of a surprise, especially because it was true across the board, whether the site was responsively designed or mobile optimized,” Ms. Walker said. “While we measured automotive manufacturer and third party automotive sites in the study, the insights can certainly be applied to dealer websites as well.

“Thinking about how the dealer site makes content available and how shoppers navigate those sites on a smartphone, no matter its size, is critical for current and future dealer site usefulness to help drive shoppers into the dealership,” she said.

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Commerce Daily