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
In the 21st century, security on the Internet has become one of the most important issues. We hear more and more about cyber-attacks on the websites of large corporations, banks and even small businesses. When online we’re concerned not only for our own safety but also our privacy. We have to know that hackers usually start their preparation by investigating the private information of admins – the habits, interests, visited websites and so on. On the other hand, our own security is in danger bec...
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...