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What Women Want: How to Connect with The Modern Female Car Buyer

 Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Account Advocate at CDK Digital
by Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Account Advocate at CDK Digital

How well do your website content and staff appeal to the modern female car shopper?

There’s been some great discussion lately about how to win the hearts of autoshoppers, but a woman’s vehicle needs may be prioritized differently than a man’s. In order to sell to women, stores can benefit by understanding and caring about what women want when it comes to cars. Maybe you should ask Mel Gibson about what women want. On second thought, Mel might not be the best resource these days.

In the interest of better understanding the needs of the female car shopper and sharing that understanding with the dealers that I work with, I recently conducted an independent survey of a group of women across the United States. Here are a few excerpts from the survey results and why I think they are important to consider when trying to appeal to the female car shopper.


She did her online research over five Bellingham, WA area stores when considering her purchase of a new Honda or Toyota. Though recent automotive shopping studies have determined that 7 out of 10 car shoppers walk in to your dealership without phoning or emailing, Meryam called multiple stores via the phone numbers, or Call Tracking Numbers (CTN’s) that were posted on the websites before deciding to ever walk onto any of the lots.  When considering dealers to visits, her top factors were long-term service package, warranty, and location of the dealership. Meryam’s level of research reinforces that female buyers are savvy,educated and prepared to do business.


Lauren is from rural Indiana. She considered four dealerships in proximity to her home before purchasing a vehicle. She interacted with her chosen store via online live chat, phone conversations, and by eventually visiting the showroom. Lauren pointed out that the online financing information from the store was clear, but she would have liked more detailed pricing information about the model she was interested in. The dealership offered the MSRP but hinted that a better price was available by submitting a lead. Her feedback suggests that women will often respond to websites that clearly display pricing instead of “Contact Us” and “Get A Quote” call to actions that make them feel more pressured.


Lisa is from Everett, WA. She went to six dealerships looking to buy her next vehicle. Lisa originally named price as the largest determining factor. But as our Inventory Shopping Experience Study showed, the dealership with the best price doesn’t always win the sale in the end. She was eventually won over by the atmosphere of one given dealership because of its open floor plan, cleanliness, free Wi-Fi Internet, coffee, snacks and play area for kids. She noted that her dealership experience was excellent and felt like everything was well done and thoughtful. The price of the vehicle was not necessarily the lowest but, it was competitive and she insisted that the service she received and the comfort she felt at the dealership made the biggest difference to do business with them.

The most consistent theme uncovered was a desire to feel listened to during the negotiation process. She bought a vehicle from this dealership and is now receiving an abundance of emails and phone calls for follow up appointments. She admits feeling a little smothered in their follow up service approach but still feels great about the value of her purchase and continued support she is receiving.

When a female buyer walks into your store, it’s a safe bet that she’s done hours of research and is knowledgeable. A common thread among the survey respondents is that they emphasized the importance of following up with an email, phone call, and perhaps even a discount card in the mail to help distinguish your store from other dealerships during their car-shopping journey. Your sales team will be successful by identifying her need(s) and finding the right car accordingly, then following up with clear and timely communication.

These are just a few of the ways you can make women feel respected and comfortable when visiting you dealership. Let me know some of the other things you’ve done to meet the needs of the female car shopper.

*Names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

About the Author

Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Account Advocate at CDK Digital

Marissa Dogeagle Smith is an Account Advocate at CDK Digital, working primarily with Hyundai and General Motors stores. Marissa and her teammates provide and implement ongoing website optimization strategies that help dealerships distinguish themselves and drive qualified showroom traffic. Marissa is extremely passionate about the value of using website data to formulate and employ powerful strategies. Like many Toyota owners, Marissa learned to drive in a Camry and now owns a Corolla. Marissa holds a Business Administration degree and Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Marissa directly at

Learn more about CDK’s suite of dealership marketing services.

Views: 394

Tags: best, buyer, car, dealer, female, in-store, practices, pricing, process, specials, More…website


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Comment by Michael on October 25, 2014 at 7:50pm

Marissa, Nice share. Thank you. I would be inclined to say that many men have those shared sentiments and practices.  

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