According to Autotrader’s recent Car Buyer of the Future study, only 17 out of 4,002 people prefer the current car-buying process. And the rest? They want some major changes. For those dealers who take the time to appeal to today’s auto consumers, the wins will quickly add up.
Autotrader uncovered some interesting facts in the study:
- The lowest price does not always win. Although price will always continue to be an important factor, 54% of shoppers say they would buy from a dealership that offered a great experience as compared to a lower price. Additionally, 73% were willing to drive further to a dealership who provides a positive experience.
- Salespeople continue to play an important role. The notion of online car shopping may be appealing to some consumers. Although most consumers begin their research on a website, 84% prefer to purchase a car in person, however.
- New options for financing paperwork. Once the purchase decision has been made, the average time for completing paperwork is 61 minutes, according to a study by Cox Automotive. Meanwhile, 72% of consumers would favor the opportunity to complete credit applications and financing paperwork online.
Clearly, in the age of the consumer, providing a great customer experience provides huge benefits for dealerships. Additional statistics from the Autotrader study indicate:
- 72% of consumers say they would visit dealerships more often if the buying process were improved.
- 66% of consumers say that they would be much more likely to buy from a dealership that offers their preferred experience.
- 53% of consumers would buy a vehicle more often if the buying process were improved.
The following are three steps to winning big with today’s car buyer.
1. Know customers and prospects
Consumers are increasingly choosing dealerships that cater to their needs and preferences, often over dealerships that offer a lower price.
To provide a positive customer experience, you must have a thorough understanding of your customers and prospects—demographics, preferences, contacts information, and lifestyle. Most dealerships have pieces of this information sitting in multiple systems.
For example, a prospect may have completed a form on your website, so you have the contact information in a CRM system. This same person may have also contacted your customer service department, so additional details are sitting in another system. Data is often stored in multiple systems such as billing systems, marketing programs, customer service departments, maintenance records, and other sources.
Each of these customer data sources must be integrated into a single database to achieve a 360-degree customer view. By understanding what your customers want, who they are, their channel preferences, and other important details, dealerships can create truly tailored customer experiences based on individual preferences.
2. Append your data
In addition to internal sources of customer data, automotive marketing data and demographics can be appended for richer insights and more targeted offers.
3. Implement change
For example, a large percentage of consumers see a dealership as a place to learn and gain information on warranties, specials, safety ratings, and service. Consider creating informational videos and resource centers, or have a product specialist on hand, and then promote and advertise these resources so consumers know that your dealership is a great resource for learning.
Another major change consumers want when purchasing a vehicle is an improved buying process. Is your financing paperwork online and easily accessible? Do you have easy-to-understand instructions and knowledgeable customer representatives available if someone has questions when completing this paperwork?
Today’s auto consumers are savvier and expect a great customer experience. A rich understanding of your customers combined with better customer service, easier processes, and robust educational resources will get more customers into your dealership. And remember: Consumers are willing to pay more and drive further to dealerships that can deliver what they’re looking for.