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Your Innovative Dealership: 5 Changes to Make Right Now

Autotrader’s recent Car Buyer of the Future study shows only 17 out of 4,002 people prefer the current car-buying process, with the rest saying they are looking for significant changes.  For dealerships to thrive in a changing marketplace, this means taking a closer look at what modern shoppers need and being open to changes and innovations that streamline processes to offer the best possible shopping experiences.

Now, more than ever, consumers are turning toward businesses that offer modern conveniences and efficient service, and they’re holding dealerships to the same high standards they place on other industries.  Successful dealers across the country have learned they need to make changes to ensure they remain competitive with fast-paced, demanding shoppers.

Take a look at how today’s consumers are shopping, as well as some things you can do to impact their experiences at your dealership:

  • Auto consumers are savvy online shoppers. Before they visit your dealership, they’ll turn to online sources for information and to narrow down their vehicle choices.  In fact, more than 6 out of 10 consumers turn to dealership websites when seeking information regarding used vehicles.  What can you do?

Rock your website.  Ensure your website is easy to use, updated frequently, and contains enough vehicle-specific information to entice in-market shoppers to visit your dealership in person.  Details provided on your website should be vehicle-specific, and pricing should be current so shoppers aren’t surprised when they arrive on your lot.

  • Shoppers have more information than ever before, utilizing an average of 24 research points before making decisions regarding where to shop and which vehicles to buy. If you’ve been seeing less foot traffic, while still selling cars, this explains why.  Shoppers arrive on your lot having already done a majority of their research online, and they’re likely nearing purchasing decisions.  What can you do?

Boost your online presence.  Get in front of consumer research and work on establishing your dealership as a reliable resource during the shopper research phase.  Provide quality insights, up-to-date product news, and industry updates.  And when customers arrive at your dealership, be sure your sales team is prepared with reliable, comprehensive information on every model.  You’ll build trust and earn loyalty by meeting shoppers where they are during their purchasing journeys.

  • A recent survey confirms millennial shoppers are more likely than anyone else to buy cars within the next year. A multi-device, mobile generation, these shoppers are changing the way most industries do business.  Auto dealerships are learning this generation craves authentic communication and shies away from being sold.  What can you do?

Engage your millennial audience.  Build your younger customer base by engaging online and forming lasting relationships built on quality content and meaningful interactions.  Ensure your online content is optimized for mobile and offer authentic conversation, honest information, and frequent updates.

  • 90% of consumers prefer a dealership where they can begin the purchasing process online. Today’s consumers don’t want to wait, and if they’ve done online research and narrowed down their vehicle searches, most want to at least begin some of the paperwork before walking into the dealership.  No one wants to wait around, so when your dealership offers shoppers the option to get a jump on the process, many will take advantage of it.  What can you do?

Offer an online process.  Consumers are accustomed to being able to click, pay, and have items shipped in just about every other industry.  Although it may not be feasible just yet to buy a car online from start to finish, consider offering things like online credit and finance forms, payment worksheets, and trade-in forms as time-saving options.

  • Haggling is a traditional part of the car-buying process, but today’s buyers want to cut to the chase. AutoTrader’s Car Buyer of the Future study confirms over half of shoppers surveyed would rather start making a deal online, with 45% saying they would prefer to remain anonymous until they lock in a deal.  What can you do?

Help shoppers save time.  Consider ways to shorten the deal-making process and offer clear-cut pricing that lets shoppers know they’re getting the best deals.  When you develop a reputation for quickly getting to your bottom-line deal, you’ll build trust, and shoppers will be more likely to turn to your dealership when it’s time to buy.

By focusing on consumer pain points and innovating to offer viable shopper-friendly solutions, you’ll earn positive recognition for your dealership.  Today’s fast-paced shoppers will recognize your efforts, and by working to meet their needs in forward-thinking ways, you’ll be able to cut down on paperwork, wait times, haggling—and in the end, shopper frustrations.  There are many ways you can make a positive impact on your customers, and in a rapidly moving marketplace, your attention to shopper needs can make all the difference in the way your dealership is perceived.

By focusing on consumer pain points and innovating to offer viable shopper-friendly solutions,… Click To Tweet
Kendall Billman
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Kendall Billman

Senior Vice President at AutoAlert
Helping automotive dealerships successfully leverage the potential of digital and content marketing.
Kendall Billman
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