Today’s automotive consumers are more educated than ever, and that plays an enormous role in how they interact with your dealership. Shoppers expect even more from your team, and it’s important everyone is prepared to interact with the newest consumer generations—savvy, connected individuals with access to endless information that helps them research and make buying decisions before they ever visit your showroom.
Reaching Your Consumers
Today, consumers are setting the pace for businesses in general, and this rings true for dealerships across the country. To reach the largest audience and ensure your message resonates with as many potential buyers as possible, it’s important to understand how consumers are educating themselves in the marketplace:
- 28% of online activity is spent on social networks, so developing and maintaining a social presence for your dealership is key to growing consumer relationships.
- Online reviews impact 67% of purchasing decisions, which means it’s imperative to stay on top of your online reputation.
- Adults in the U.S. spend 5 hours each day viewing video content, and when your dealership leverages the power of video, you’ll reach more potential shoppers.
- 54% of shoppers would buy from a dealership that offers a great experience—even if the price is higher. For your dealership, this means it’s essential to focus on providing the ultimate consumer experience.
- While dealer average response time to consumer requests is 2 hours, today’s modern shoppers expect businesses to offer 24/7 real-time responses. Dealerships offering instant online communication are building strong relationships with consumers who are looking for timely interactions.
The way your dealership works with educated and informed consumers is key in determining how shoppers will react. It can be the deciding factor when it comes to turning shoppers into customers. AutoTrader.com’s Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence, Isabelle Helms, says, “Since the majority of millennials are decided on which vehicle they want to purchase by the time they get to the dealership, the opportunity for dealers and OEMs to influence their purchase decisions is online—where millennials spend the majority of their shopping time.” By shifting a portion of your focus to online consumers and interacting with them where they’re doing a majority of their research, your dealership has the opportunity to begin building relationships earlier in the buyer journey, allowing you to impact crucial shopper decisions earlier in the research phase. Being present during this stage is as important as addressing the needs of your customers once they’re on the showroom floor.
Work Smarter Not Harder
Your dealership can do several things to appeal to today’s shoppers and ensure you’re able to influence them and provide them with exactly what they’re looking for:
- Use intelligent marketing. Most shoppers are already online, and that means there’s a wealth of information out there about them. Your dealership can take advantage of this and implement platforms like AutoAlert’s One-to-One Intelligent Marketing to help you leverage valuable data and convert more opportunities. Now, more than ever, intelligent data-mining solutions are integral to help you get to know your consumers and provide high-quality, personalized solutions.
- Provide useful, relevant content. Consumers are hungry for knowledge, and when your dealership provides content that educates, offers helpful advice, and resonates in some way with the journey they’re on, you’ll grow your audience. Create a schedule you can stick to and post consistently to gain attention and trust.
- Don’t oversell on social platforms. Focus on offering helpful information, rather than sales pitches, when sharing content. When searching online, consumers are primarily looking for insights and advice—so be a positive contributor by steering clear of hard pitches and instead using your platforms for sharing what’s new and informative.
When you understand how shoppers are approaching vehicle purchases, your dealership can be prepared to meet them in the marketplace and provide exactly what they’re looking for. As mobile usage, online searches, and social sharing have continued to grow in popularity, consumers have adopted these methods for carrying out much of their shopping research. For successful dealerships, this means shifting perspective to include reaching out to shoppers well before they arrive at your lot—because when you get to know your shoppers early in their buying journeys, you’ll be able to better meet their needs when they arrive in your showroom.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.