Increase VDP Engagement: The Role Touch Plays in Buying Decisions

Feb 18, 2015 | Website Conversion

Recent studies have found that consumers form a deeper emotional connection with items that they are able to physically touch. Retail stores know this well, and are quick to put their products directly in consumers hands to increase sales.

But what if your prospects aren’t starting their car shopping on your lot, and you can’t form a tactile connection? How can you manipulate the psychology of touch when the search for a car begins on your website, instead?

Increase VDP Engagement - The Role Touch Plays in Buying Decisions

Consumers who touch a product are more likely to buy it

When a customer is on your lot, you want them in the car. You want them to take the handle, caress the leather, fiddle with the radio knob, tilt the mirrors, and shift the gear into drive. Why? According to the article “The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership,” when consumers physically touch a product, they connect with it psychologically.

Why else would Apple and Best Buy move their pricey devices outside of their secure display cases and into browsers’ grabby hands? Because doing so “may increase the feelings of perceived ownership and influence the amount a customer is willing to pay for a product.”

In other words, physically holding an item can create the idea that a consumer already possesses it, which impacts their purchase decision. It gives them an “I-gotta-buy-this” notion, because subconsciously, they already feel like they did.

But how can you illicit this type of connection through your website when touch is limited to a cursor and a click?

When touch is unavailable, such as shopping online, having people imagine owning a product increases their perception of ownership and how much they are willing to pay.”

– “The Effect of Mere Touch on Perceived Ownership”

Your Vehicle Detail Pages need to be vivid, virtual experiences

To increase user engagement, your inventory pages on your website should mirror the experience your customers would have if they were on your lot. Hidden Creative, a company that specializes in bringing immersive technologies to commercial industries, found that when consumers cannot interact with a product in person, virtual experiences can stand in for actual encounters.

CEO Matthew Trubow noted that through its research, the company has “been able to truly endorse the theory that the outcome is no different if the product is presented as an augmentation.”

Your Vehicle Details Page (VDP) most likely has descriptions, details, pictures, and maybe even videos to get your customers as close to your cars as possible. But if you think that’s enough to increase VDP engagement and prompt consumers to imagine themselves holding the keys, think again.

Stagnant pictures aren’t going to cut it, and videos are just about as interactive as the wallpaper in your dining room.

Mimic physical touch on your website

According to Adobe Scene7, 91% of individuals surveyed want the ability to turn products around in full 360 degrees and zoom in on any perspective before they buy it.

Enter the workaround for car dealers: 360 or 3D photography on the VDP.

Increasing Interactivity and Engagement On The VDP

The more you get someone to interact with your product, the more they will remember it. Plus, recall that there is a direct association between time spent on the VDP and the amount of time a vehicle spends on your lot!

Learn more about the relationship between time on a VDP and sales: Your VDP: Uncensored

Get your users to click, explore, zoom in, zoom out, and rotate a vehicle as much as possible. Make them feel like they can’t live without it. Then, and only then, will you be able to get them to your lot, test driving (and touching!) your inventory, and ultimately leaving with the keys.

It really works

When consumers see enhanced marketing from brands, such as videos, product tours, 360 degree views and user manuals, sales increase for both the brand and the retailer by 6 to 25%.”

— Jed Alpert, VP of WebCollage

Chart - Companies That Use 360 Degree Technology and Photos

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.


Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

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