SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

News Feed Item

The Dealership Experience Can Make Or Break A Sale, According To AutoTrader.com

ATLANTA, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2014, the industry should put a greater focus on the experience consumers are having in dealerships, according to AutoTrader.com®. Combining insights gained through years of consumer research, as well as working with a third-party firm to understand what fuels the best performing dealerships' success, AutoTrader.com identified the "Dealership Experience," and particularly "Customer Handling," as one of the leading factors that determines where consumers make their purchases.  

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110425/CL88097LOGO

"We work diligently to partner with our dealer customers and be true consultants, helping them to not only attract more shoppers, but to also turn those shoppers into buyers," said Kevin Filan, vice president of customer marketing and industry relations at AutoTrader.com. "In order to fulfill this promise, we felt it was important to highlight a key theme that has come up across our wide body of research: as shoppers move between online research and interacting with dealerships, it is those interactions—or the way customers are handled—that can make or break the sale. Because of this, we believe that now is the time for the industry to come together to enhance consumers' dealership experience."

Central to superior customer handling is meeting shoppers where they are in the shopping process and allowing them to shop the way they want to. Car buyers indicate that they will walk away from a deal when the experience is not meeting their expectations. In fact, AutoTrader.com research has shown that one of the top reasons new and used car buyers are dissatisfied with the dealership experience is a pushy and/or dishonest sales person.[1]

Additionally, that research 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 that study, 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 indicated that they would walk away from a dealership that had the exact car they wanted if they found the dealership to be untrustworthy.[2]

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."

Conversely, a good consumer experience can help dealers seal the deal. Of the top 10 reasons why car buyers select the dealership where they ultimately purchased from, six were influenced by positive customer handling: past experience with the dealer (21 percent), dealer's reputation (10 percent), referral from someone else (seven percent), dealer's service department (six percent), always buy from my salesperson (five percent), liked salesperson/treated us well (three percent).[1]

As a result, it's critical to a dealership's success for salespeople to evolve the way they engage potential buyers today by providing a buying experience that is focused on the individual customer's wants and needs.

"Shoppers want to feel good, not just about their purchase, but the dealership from where they are purchasing," Filan continued. "The dealership experience extends beyond the showroom floor, as dealers are creating experiences for consumers each and every time they come into contact with the dealership—whether that's online looking at inventory, chatting, or reading reviews, or in person as they walk the lot. Because of this, dealers should focus on building trust from the first interaction with each consumer and sustaining that trust throughout the consumer's experience."

This information is particularly important, as car buyers are only visiting one to three dealerships prior to purchase, according to AutoTrader.com research.[2] Therefore, dealers need to ensure that their "first showroom," their online presence, is creating an enticing and informative experience, as well as focus on the in-person experience.

To help dealers improve their dealership experience, AutoTrader.com offers the following tips:

  • Improve soft skills. Train employees on customer handling and in-store processes. Observe and review sales calls as well as in-store interactions and provide coaching to dealership staff.
  • Be more consultative. Embrace a more consultative approach to the sales process to alleviate shopper concerns and build trust.
  • Be knowledgeable. Ensure that dealership staff is intimately knowledgeable with inventory and product offerings. Despite being informed, many car shoppers still rely heavily on the salesperson for information.
  • Ensure pricing consistency. Consider introducing more pricing transparency through consistently pricing vehicles across third-party sites, advertising and the dealership site. It may even be worth embracing a "no haggle" policy. Shoppers indicate that agreeing on a price can be one of the most frustrating parts of buying a car.
  • Hire the right sales staff. Recruit and hire sales staff who mirror the profile of your buyers and who have a pulse on how consumers today prefer to shop.
  • Think outside the box. Differentiate your dealership with a unique amenity. For example, some car shoppers bring their children to the dealership, so amenities that cater to families can turn a good experience into a great one.
  • Reconsider the BDC/Internet Department model. While many dealerships have a finely tuned process that is highly effective, others should consider a "top to bottom" experience where consumers interact with one individual—from the person who answers the phone or greets a customer when they arrive through facilitation of the entire transaction. Car shoppers indicate frustration when they begin working with one dealership associate but then are handed off to another associate only to start the process over again.

About AutoTrader.com

Created in 1997, Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace. As a leading resource for car shoppers and sellers, AutoTrader.com aggregates millions of new, used and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of dealers and private sellers and provides expert articles and reviews. AutoTrader.com, which also operates the AutoTraderClassics.com auto marketing brand, is wholly owned by AutoTrader Group. Additionally, AutoTrader Group owns Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com®) as well as companies that provide a full suite of software tools that help dealers and manufacturers manage their inventory and advertising online: vAuto®, HomeNet Automotive®, VinSolutions®, AIS Rebates™, Genius Labs® and Haystak™. AutoTrader Group is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. For more information, please visit http://press.autotrader.com.

[1] Source: 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study

[2] Source: AutoTrader.com 2012 Dealership Experience Study

SOURCE AutoTrader.com

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5's entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senio...
ScriptRock makes GuardRail, a DevOps-ready platform for configuration monitoring. Realizing we were spending way too much time digging up, cataloguing, and tracking machine configurations, we began writing our own scripts and tools to handle what is normally an enormous chore. Then we took the concept a step further, giving it a beautiful interface and making it simple enough for our bosses to understand. We named it GuardRail after its function - to allow businesses to move fast and stay sa...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Skytap blog on "DevOps Journal" exceeded 84,000 story reads. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Noel Wurst is the managing content editor at Skytap. Skytap provides SaaS-based dev/test environments to the enterprise. Skytap solution removes the inefficiencies and constraints that comp...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Sematext launched a popular blog feed on DevOps Journal with over 6,000 story reads over the weekend. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting an...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables c...
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...