Discover Boating said it is sending shoppers to manufacturer brand websites as part of its website referral program, helping to bring new people into boating.
During its 2016 campaign Discover Boating generated more than 3.1 million web visits to brand websites.
Discover Boating is inviting attendees to the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference to learn about how to attract the first-time boat buyer from 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday in Room 15 of the Tampa (Fla.) Convention Center. As Discover Boating sends potential shoppers to manufacturer websites with its referral program, its research on understanding first-time buyers will provide better insights on how to engage these potential shoppers.
A website referral is someone coming to a website, from another website, to shop and/or find more information about a product or brand.
“Referrals are becoming more important as more and more consumers choose to not enter their personal information into a website to be contacted by a sales rep,” Discover Boating president Carl Blackwell said in a statement.
“Not only has the traditional means of entering personal information into websites become a privacy and security concern for consumers, but consumers want to control their own shopping experience instead of putting it in the hands of a sales rep.”
Of the millions of consumers who come to Discover Boating each year, more than ever are opting to click off to manufacturer websites to shop brands on their own than choosing to be contacted by a dealer.
In 2016, consumers opted for the direct shopping, referral route, rather than grant permission to be contacted by a dealer, also known as the lead route — a number that has consistently increased year over year.
“We’ve watched the online shopping experience change dramatically over the past 10 years since we launched Discover Boating,” Blackwell said. “The consumer is now in the driver seat — they expect to be in the driver seat. Our industry is accommodating that shift, and as a result is getting much smarter about how we attract buyers and carry them through the purchase process online.”
What’s more, the referrals coming from Discover Boating are proving to be quality referrals — they’re new potential boat buyers and they’re demonstrating that they’re interested in buying a boat.
A study conducted by Discover Boating and its advertising agency, Olson, consisting of a control group of manufacturers representing about 300,000 website referrals, used Google Analytics to analyze total traffic to manufacturer brand websites against referral traffic from Discover Boating.
“Promoting the boating lifestyle and improving the boating experience is the purpose of Discover Boating. Introducing boating to new customers, getting them excited about getting on the water, and then connecting them with manufacturers and retailers who can get them on the water and in a boat is our strategy. We’re excited about this research because it’s showing us it’s working,” said Joe Lewis, chairman of Discover Boating and owner of Mount Dora Boating Center.
“Our mission now is to communicate these findings to the industry and help manufacturers make the most of these shoppers, converting them to leads and connecting them with dealers who are the only ones who can make them boat owners,” Lewis said. “As part of this, we’ll need to work in sync with the industry to make the referral hand-off process much more seamless and productive.