What can we learn from Amazon about streamlining the automobile purchase process? Let’s start with a far-flung example.
Do you like Doritos? If you like them a lot you probably don’t want to run out of them. You may like them enough that you don’t have the patience to drive to the store to replenish your Doritos stash. You may also find ordering online is just too much trouble to secure your precious glow in the dark orange goodness.
You want on-demand Doritos. And, Amazon knows this.
Because Amazon is the master of Faster, Simpler, Easier they have reduced the friction in speedy Doritos acquisition so that when you press the Amazon Doritos Dash Button an emergency load of nutrient-free, finger-staining, fluorescent crunchiness is headed your way.
Let’s not confuse purchasing a bag of snacks with acquiring a new car. They are vastly different transactions. But let’s also not ignore how Amazon and other companies have raised consumer expectations about how easy it should be to purchase things we use every day.
Study after study shows that negotiating the price of a car creates strong emotions including fear, anxiety, frustration and disappointment. Add the confusion and tension that customer feel when they enter the finance office and we can see why customers don’t purchase vehicles more often. According to the 2015 Driving Sales Consumer Experience Research commissioned through DrivingSales University 64% of consumers surveyed said they would buy more often if the dealership experience wasn’t so difficult. According to the same research fully 99% of respondents said they expected a hassle when visiting a car dealership.
We are still transacting car sales as if we were horse traders. In the era of horse trading little was known about the history of the horse, there was no warranty or return policy and the buyer assumed all the risk. Horse trading exemplified the principle of caveat emptor – buyer beware. Today information availability is symmetrical. Unlike the pre-internet era, buyers have virtually the same information as sellers do. Isn’t it time to introduce true price transparency and start focusing on an extraordinary guest experience not setting up an adversarial relationship where we haggle over a smaller and smaller front-end margin?
New technology means that ecommerce is now available for any auto retailer to deploy. New technology can enable new processes. An ecommerce suite of products tacked on to a website has little chance of optimizing the customer experience without a corresponding change in process. Where else in the ecommerce world is the first step in the transaction to go back and forth on price? The tried and true ingredients to successful online selling including transparent pricing, savings comparison and validation based on what others have paid. To speed the transaction and increase conversion some or all of these elements have to replace the “make an offer” feature seen in early auto online tools. A faster, simpler, easier online transaction does not include online negotiation.
Faster, Simpler, Easier means that no haggle pricing is the future of auto retailing.” New retail concepts are entering the market. Carvana, AutoNation USA, Carite, CarSense, Echo Park, Sonic One, CarBiz are all racing to bring a faster, simpler, easier purchase process to consumers. While these concepts all vary in execution, they all have one common foundation: no haggle pricing. Progressive no-haggle dealers such as Rydell Chevrolet, Apple Autos, Walser Automotive Group, Morrie’s Auto Group, Mullinax Ford, One Toyota, CarMax, Sonic One, Grappone Auto Group, Manchester Honda, Holler Classic, LeHigh Valley Lexus and many others are part of a group of legacy dealers who left negotiating behind to improve the customer experience and sell cars in volume. The simple fact is there are no innovators in retail auto introducing a new concept that relies on negotiating prices.
Learn more about the forces motivating progressive dealers to move to a one-price business model by attending Alan Krutsch’s session at the Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo, which will be held this Sept. 18-20th in Las Vegas, NV. Highlights of his presentation include current operational challenges and the effect disruptors both inside and outside the auto industry are having on shopper expectations. Takeaways include the key steps in converting to one-price selling and four key benefits that give one-price dealers a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Alan Krutsch, Vice-President Sales and Marketing at Ryan Adams Group, has over 15 years of retail automotive experience in sales, marketing, and leadership roles. Alan has served as Director of Marketing for two prominent dealer groups where his knowledge of brand management and skill as an innovative digital marketer lead to market share increases and reduced costs per vehicle sold. His entire auto career has been with progressive one-price dealer groups. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan has over 15 years of retail automotive experience in sales, marketing, and leadership roles. Alan has served as Director of Marketing for two prominent dealer groups where his knowledge of brand management and skill as an innovative digital marketer lead to market share increases and reduced costs per vehicle sold. His entire auto career has been with progressive one-price dealer groups.