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Sure, 84% of all consumers begin their car shopping through online research, but the vast majority want to negotiate in person at the dealership. The dealership experience is more important than ever. To better understand how dealers can make this a successful experience, Jumpstart Automotive Media studied the latest shopping trends in conjunction with Ipsos for their latest report: “Today’s Auto Buyer and the Digital Retailing Experience." The study, available by clicking here, addressed the overall dealership experience and what consumers expect in order to transact on a sale and reach even higher satisfaction marks.
Email is an effective way for dealers and consumers to communicate once the buying process commences. Consumers like to ask buying questions in a way that feels less vulnerable, and it’s a good way to inquire about inventory. However, the deeper into the sales process, the more important face-to-face communication becomes. In fact, 76% of consumers believe they get better pricing by negotiating in person as opposed to online. What’s more, the report found that consumers want more in-person communication than dealers might think. This is one example of the disconnect that remains between dealers and consumers.
“It’s important to provide the right experience during research to get the customer interested in walking through the door, but it all comes down to the dealership experience and there are several ways sales staff can increase their chances of a successful transaction,” said Libby Murad-Patel, vice president marketing and strategic insights for Jumpstart. “Understanding how to effectively communicate with the customer, recognizing how to see common ground on what is a ‘fair price’ and treating each customer with respect will always be a winning combination to build more sales potential.”
Overall, the report found that 61% of consumers were satisfied with their dealership experience. Those that were dissatisfied were least happy with the finance department. However, their dissatisfaction may have been more a result of not qualifying for advertised terms than how they were treated by staff. In general, a simple, fast experience (37%) and transparent pricing (33%) are what consumers want most in their experience.
Jumpstart commissioned Ipsos to conduct a comprehensive study into the consumer and dealer points of view. The study design included qualitative research consisting of a five-day online discussion with 28 U.S. consumers, a four-day online discussion with 28 dealers, and nine 60-minute phone interviews with dealership GMs and owners. Following these results, quantitative research was conducted in the form of online surveys of 263 recent buyers, in-market or intending car shoppers, and 54 dealership employees.
Jumpstart Automotive Media, a division of Hearst Autos, offers high-impact and performance-driven marketing and advertising solutions that achieve optimum results. An industry thought-leader known for its in-depth shopping reports, Jumpstart connects automotive marketers with the largest, high-performing audience of car shoppers and enthusiasts through partnerships with: Car and Driver, U.S. News Best Cars, J.D. Power Cars, NADAguides, Autoweek.com, Autobytel, Autolist.com, Daily News Autos, LeftLaneNews.com, CarSoup, CarBuzz, CarStory, VehicleHistory.com and iSeeCars.