TRANSPARENCY. Love it or hate it, it is relevant and plays a big part in your Digital strategy.
Let's see if we can look at things from a customer's perspective for a moment.
- Google the product you're looking for.
- Read through the results on pages 1-5 to narrow your search. (Yeah, right!) More like, Read through the first 3, maybe 4 results.
- Visit a couple of the sites to gather information including pricing and availability.
- Visit 3rd party sites. (Autotrader & Cars.com)
- ASSUME THAT NO PRICE = HIGHEST PRICE AND MOVE ON TO NEXT DEALERSHIP.
So is #5 happening? You better believe it is! If you aren't pricing your inventory and pricing it "On the Money" you are out of the Internet game. Remember, we're looking at things from a customer's perspective. So here's the rub, some dealers dig their heels in the sand and say, "Listing prices online just costs me gross and those mooches who insist on knowing he price before they come in can go see the guys down the street."
The work I do with dealers affords me the opportunity to review many Internet mystery shops of dealerships all over North America. It blows me away how many times we ask for a price and get an answer like:
- We'll make you a great deal. When can you come in?
- We've never lost a deal over price. Come on down.
- What monthly payment were you hoping to get?
- Do you have a trade?
Let me address #4 specifically. Now remember, customer perspective. "Hey honey, did you know the price we can get on the new Tahoe we want is affected by whether or not we have a trade-in?" "Hmm, I'll never understand the car business so I guess we better go down to the dealership that won't give us the price online because I'm sure they will be much lower than these other 2 dealerships that have been so nice and answered our questions so thoroughly."
The moral of the story here is that as the business owner you certainly have the right to make the business decision to resist transparency and not post prices on your website or with 3rd party vendors. Whether or not that is a good decision rests with you and your management team but I would like to offer a suggestion. Look at it from a customer's perspective when making that decision. Think about the last time you shopped online for a high ticket item like a tv or a riding mower or whatever it may have been. Chances are you were looking online for 3 pieces of information:
- Product info
- Pricing info
- Businesses that offered the product
Did you consider going to businesses that didn't offer one or both of the fist two items?
The Dalai Lama said, "The lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity."
Go move some metal!