Are Consumers Ditching the Dealership? How to Improve the Car Buyer’s Shopping Experience.

Are Consumers Ditching the Dealership? How to Improve the Car Buyer’s Shopping Experience.

  
Have you heard the claims that most consumers would rather go to the dentist than to the dealership? Year after year, we hear similar bad claims. The recent 2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index found that an astounding 87 percent of Americans dislike something about car shopping at dealerships and 61 percent feel they’re taken advantage of while there.  But it gets worse. According to the survey, 52 percent of car shoppers feel anxious or uncomfortable at dealerships. Millennials really don’t like dealing with dealerships, with 56 percent saying they’d rather clean their homes and 34% stating that they would prefer to wait in line at the DMV.  And of the 35-44 demographic, 24% stated they would rather get a root canal.

  

With that in mind, according to the research, “Over half of Americans would love the ability to buy or sell a car without ever leaving their home (54 percent); roughly two in five (42 percent) stated they would be comfortable purchasing a car online without a test drive if certain assurances (like a money-back guarantee) were in place.”
  

However, despite the bad rap, most consumers will continue to head to the dealership for buying, selling and leasing a vehicle.  But clearly dealerships need to do some damage control.  Using technologies to create exceptional experiences and concentrating on a bit of consumer education, dealerships can ease people’s fears and make the experience one that consumers enjoy.
  

A Trustworthy Reputation and an Exceptional Experience Are Critical
  

Research by AutoTrader.com shows that a majority of shoppers would not buy from a dealership they found to be untrustworthy, even if that dealership had the best price or the exact car they were looking for. In fact, 70 percent of respondents said they would walk away from a dealership that offered the best price on a vehicle if they found the dealership to be untrustworthy, and 74 percent stated that they would walk away from a dealership that had the exact car they wanted if they found the dealership to be untrustworthy.
  

AutoTrader provided an exceptional example which really drives this point home. According to their news release: Lynn V., an avid online car shopper, drove this point home in a recent conversation with AutoTrader.com where she said, “I went online and narrowed it down to two different dealerships. One was very good about communicating with me via email, was explicit in putting out an offer – very detailed. [They] included a price in the offer and invited me to the dealership. The other dealership, which actually had my first choice of color…wouldn’t give me specifics in email.”
  

She continued to try and work with the dealership that had the exact vehicle she wanted, but they would not communicate with her effectively the way she wanted, and her in-store experience led to her decide against doing business with that dealership:  “I will never go to that dealer again, even though they were probably 40 miles closer to my house. I was willing to spend the time and make the drive for a dealership that honored its word and treated its customer right.”
  

Six of the top 10 reasons why car buyers select the dealership where they ultimately purchased from have to do with some element of the customer experience:

  • 21% – past experience with the dealer
  • 10% – dealer’s reputation
  • 7% – referral from someone else
  • 6% – dealer’s service department
  • 5% – always buy from my salesperson
  • 3% – liked salesperson/treated us well

 

Identify and Address Customer Pain Points

Consumers in any industry are more likely to remember and focus on the negative aspects of an experience than they are the positive.  So what are some of the pain points can you specifically address to streamline the purchase experience?

Begin by conducting customer surveys, pay attention to your online reviews, monitor social media conversations, and ask questions.  Based on this feedback, take steps to eliminate these pain points. Does your website need updating to make it easier for your customers and prospects to navigate? Are there improvements that can be made to the financing and paperwork process?  Is your staff promptly handling inquiries or complaints? Look at each point in the purchase process, from initial point of contact to after the car is sold to ensure you are continually building trust and responding to your customer’s individual needs.
  

Get to Know Your Customers

Personalization is a large component of the customer experience in any industry. Consumers want to be known and understand wherever and whenever they choose to interact with your dealership. Of brands focusing on a personalized strategy, 74% report an increase in sales and 61% report an increase in profit (Infosys). The research also found that 86% of consumers said personalization has some impact on the purchasing decision.
  

Be sure you are constantly asking questions and gathering data about your customers and prospects at every opportunity. Collect names, addresses, emails, vehicle interest and other key details from online forms or call-ins.  Analyze data such as past purchases and service center history.  Append missing data elements such as contact details and demographics.  For example, you may want to know which households have children (“may be time to upgrade to a larger vehicle”), who has a teen driver in the house (“time for a first car”), or who is interested in the outdoors (“this new model of truck just came out”). Details such as income, marital status, occupation, hobbies, lifestyle, and age are some examples of demographics that can be used to create targeted marketing messages to which your consumers are most apt to relate.
  

Also consider adding VIN marketing data to your database, such as make, model, and year of their current vehicle, other vehicles in the household, vehicle equity, or trigger data sets such as new teen drivers and new births.
  

There is a wealth of data available for you to fine-tune your messaging, available through your own internal data systems or through third-party vendors.  Use it to your advantage to create the type of personalized experience that will wow your customers and prospects.
  

Yes, many consumers may lack trust when it comes to interacting with a dealership.  But with the wealth of data and technology available today, dealerships can quickly overcome this bad rap to create an amazing experience worth writing about.
  

Visit Relevate Auto to learn more or to request your free quote.

Views: 60

Comment

You need to be a member of DealerELITE.net to add comments!

Join DealerELITE.net

Latest Activity

Dave Anderson's blog post was featured

Master the Art of Execution

The reason most organizations fail to achieve desired results is because they lack an effective…See More
Friday
Sally Whitesell posted a blog post
Friday
Cory Wright posted a blog post
Friday
Scot Eisenfelder posted a video

Maximizing Dollar per Unit in Operation

Scot Eisenfelder shares a factor that dealerships should be looking at in order to maximize revenue at their dealerships.
Friday
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

Social Media vs Broadcast Media

Account Manager Mike Correra explains the difference between social and broadcast media in this video blog.
Friday
Jim Flint posted a blog post
Friday
Lehel Reeves posted videos
Thursday
Jeff Cowan posted a blog post

Write Service Podcast: Episode 70- Q & A with Jeff Cowan- Service Advisors MUST LISTEN!

This week, Jeff does some Q & A from his viewers! After Jeff had been on the road for a few…See More
Thursday
Dan Beres posted a blog post
Thursday
John Sternal posted a blog post

Lease Credit Approvals Dip Slightly To 68.9% in August

Lease Approval Ratings Drop Slightly in August Following Increase in JulySwapalease.com, the…See More
Wednesday
Crystal Hartwell posted a blog post

SureSale Certified Increases Used Vehicle Sales and Turn Rates for North Carolina Dealership

 New case study shows how Reed-Lallier Chevrolet leveraged this one-of-a-kind CPO program to…See More
Wednesday
Bill Wittenmyer posted a blog post

Stop being lead-centric. It’s about the customer experience.

Today’s customers expect and demand an amazing customer experience. The dealership with the right…See More
Wednesday
Reynalda Lor posted a discussion

Car Dealership Design Ideas?

Greetings!According to our marketing and HR teams, the sitting arrangements, interior and exterior…See More
Wednesday
Rob Gehring posted a blog post

Overrides

Today’s…See More
Sep 17
Bill Wittenmyer posted a video

WittsWiseWords: Super Workers

Are you setting your employees up for success? In this #WittsWiseWords, automotive retail expert Bill Wittenmyer talks about why your super-start employee ma...
Sep 16
Michael Trasatti posted a video

New Thought Processes in Hiring

Mike Trasatti shares why companies should rethink their hiring processes in this video blog.
Sep 16
Samuel posted a blog post

Top Anti Phishing Softwares that are Affordable

As the security threat is increasing more, people look for a secure way to increase their data…See More
Sep 16
Courtney Evans posted a blog post
Sep 13
Anthony Giagnacovo posted a blog post
Sep 13
Mike theCarGuy Correra posted a video

Why Buy In is Important When Adopting New Technology

Account Manager Mike Correra shares why staff buy-in is vital to success when adopting new technology.
Sep 13

Get Newsletter

© 2019   Created by DealerELITE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service