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I had the pleasure of sitting in at a seminar at the Google headquarters put on by Google and Carfax for car dealerships. While much of the information could be deemed general knowledge, some of the ideas that Google had discovered via analyzing years of data and trends is surprisingly actionable for obtaining auto shoppers today.
One of the main differences between new and old auto shoppers is preparedness. Shoppers can do all the necessary research - including what price they should be paying for a car - before they even physically enter a dealership. The main way to handle this is absolute transparency with regards to the pricing and condition of a vehicle. This allows an auto shopper to feel more trust with the dealership, which in many cases can be the only thing preventing a successful sale.
Auto shoppers are on mobile. Sometimes this occurs while the shopper is at a dealership! They could be reviewing inventory or price checking while being shown a vehicle. Therefore, competitive pricing and accurate inventory on a dealership website is key to giving an auto shopper a good experience and getting a sale.
Car salesmen are stereotypically untrustworthy. Auto shoppers need to have trust in a dealership before they will purchase a vehicle. Also, shoppers visit 2 or less dealerships thanks to being armed with mobile phones that have all the information that they need to make a decision. Thus, a salesperson should get out of their own way and focus on making the car purchasing experience a positive and transparent one.
The most eye-opening trait of today's auto shoppers, especially for digital marketing agencies specializing in auto, is that auto shoppers don't submit leads! Almost 50% will never submit a form lead. This goes back to trust. Auto shoppers do not necessarily want to leave their information and be bombarded with spam or contacted by a pushy salesperson. Some ways to get around this are to make lead forms easier to fill out, require less information and make sure that the customer knows what they will get when they submit the form (i.e. "we will not spam you, but will contact you within 2 hours to follow up"). Another must-have is call tracking, because as form leads decrease, phone leads increase. Seeing as shoppers already have all the information they need to make a purchase, they are more likely to go straight to the dealership or call in and make an appointment.
All in all, auto shoppers today have all the necessary car buying info on their mobile device, they don't trust dealerships easily and they don't submit form leads. This can be nightmarish for digital marketing agencies trying to prove that they are driving leads, but great for transparent dealerships with well priced cars that cater to a customer’s needs. What steps are you all taking to make the most of the current customer behaviors of today?