While data suggests that consumers in the U.S., U.K and Germany have relatively equal interest in buying cars online, large regional gaps exist in the sophistication of the digital car buying experience. One of those gaps is post-purchase handoff: European auto sites offer very limited options for post-purchase engagement with the brand site compared to the U.S. Almost all U.S. sites have a search engine that let users find downloads by model make and year or VIN, and 64% allow users to download user manuals online. More than half allow online bill pay, and 40% and 31% allow owners to order parts and schedule maintenance visits online respectively.
In contrast, none of the German brand sites L2 studies allow users to schedule service online and just 7% allow online orders of parts and accessories. And while 44% of U.K. brands allow users to schedule service appointments online (a higher percentage than U.S. brands), just 4% allow online bill pay. Similarly, just 20% of German brand sites and 24% of U.K. brand sites allow recall retrieval by model make and year or VIN.
Integrating post-purchase service into the main brand site offers more consistency than leaving them to local dealerships. Furthermore, brands have the scale to provide online services that individual dealerships cannot. Overall, online post-purchase services present an opportunity for upselling newer models and cross-selling other devices as one-time buyers become repeat visitors to the brand site.