|By PR Newswire||
|January 27, 2014 05:00 AM EST||
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.
"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.
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.
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).
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. 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.
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.
 Source: 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study
 Source: AutoTrader.com 2012 Dealership Experience Study
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Jan. 21, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 2,066
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
Jan. 21, 2017 05:30 AM EST Reads: 3,549
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
Jan. 21, 2017 05:00 AM EST Reads: 3,002
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
Jan. 21, 2017 05:00 AM EST Reads: 4,025
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT depl...
Jan. 21, 2017 03:45 AM EST Reads: 1,985
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors an...
Jan. 21, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 5,041
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Jan. 21, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 6,112
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jan. 21, 2017 02:15 AM EST Reads: 5,359
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Jan. 21, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 5,816
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 21, 2017 01:30 AM EST Reads: 6,566
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 21, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 4,905
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jan. 21, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 5,052
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Jan. 21, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 2,886
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Jan. 21, 2017 12:30 AM EST Reads: 4,578
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jan. 21, 2017 12:15 AM EST Reads: 6,376