The recent news of Cars.com’s acquisition of DealerRater is creating a stir, basically because a review GIANT will be born when the transaction is completed next month. The new Cars.com will have the largest dealer review platform in the industry, with more than 4 million consumer submitted reviews. While there surely are many dealerships as well as sales personnel who have seen this news, many have surely passed it by, not thinking twice. However, there should be a pause, because this acquisition will affect every facet of the auto industry. The greatest eventuality with this, if done correctly, will be that dealerships have the chance to build up their reputation because of this.
Online reviews, no matter the industry, are more important than ever before. Automotive reviews are even more important to consumers; given that the purchase they make will be their second largest only to purchasing a home. In addition, this importance on reviews rings even more true when talking about service departments. And, unknown to many, dealership sales personnel are also able to be reviewed. Simply put, reviews are a way for consumers to feel more comfortable throughout every dimension of the dealership. Given 71% of customers say they bought their vehicle because they liked, trusted, or respected their salesperson, this comfort level can affect your dealership both positively as well as negatively. Having said that, there’s a few things that need to be understood to help better suit the “review educated” consumer.
With reviews so important to the consumer, it’s no wonder that 85% of customers make up their mind about purchasing a vehicle before they leave the house. This type of word of mouth marketing has created a comfortable community for consumers, and this acquisition allows all dealerships to better improve and monitor their reputation. The new Cars.com will allow the dealership to keep better track of their reviews throughout a multitude of websites more efficiently, which has been difficult for most in previous years. In addition to this, dealerships will also be alerted when a negative review is submitted. This ability helps the dealership take over control of the review, and steer it toward a solution.
With individual sales personnel reviews, consumers can see how well rated each staff member is before ever walking through the door. Matching them with who best suits their needs. Many may believe that sales personnel reviews are a worrisome item to have available, however this actually provides a two-prong approach to keeping your dealership ahead of others. It provides salesperson accountability and a personal driving source for your dealership. The individual positive reviews leave the consumer feeling comfortable and the negative reviews allow management to reassess which staff members are working out best for their teams.
This acquisition will create plethora opportunities for dealerships to increase their digital marketing strategy. With the amount of dealership funds already allocated to SEM, this acquisition will allow for a more efficient review strategy that SHOULD, again if done properly, increase dealership reputation and more importantly, sales.
Author: Aubrey Hankins
Aubrey Hankins serves as Social Media Marketing Director for CRMSuite, a software company providing dealerships with industry leading, technologically advanced CRM Software. With almost 10 years of marketing and social media experience, he brings a wealth of informative automotive discussion and debate, all in order to help dealers sell more cars.