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Aimi Gundersen

Aimi Gundersen Project Manager

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Say Millennial One More Time...

Okay--so I admit it. I am incredibly tired of the word Millennial. To the point where I think there should be a drinking game associate with the word: Every time you see the word millennial, you have to pick up your glass.

Kind of like when you heard the song Roxanne…. (Millennials may not get that reference.)

However, Millennials or Gen Y, or whatever the label, are an interesting and challenging subject matter to research in regards to automotive buying habits. Their presence was not prevalent in the past years when analyzing vehicle purchasing patterns, but numbers are rising and we have been able to gather some real and purposeful data. Buying patterns, platforms, and media usage are all unlike anything we have previously seen. Therefore, to ignore Millennials is to ignore a giant section of the automotive market.

Here is why you cannot afford to ignore Millennials:

How do you look online?

With 95% of people looking online before they shop, you need to make sure that your online presence reflects your dealership tone and image. Clean up your website and remove all of the superfluous distractions. There should never be multiple videos that start playing all at the same time. (It has happened--trust me. And I click off faster than you can imagine.) Make your website easy to navigate, customer friendly, and clean. There is nothing wrong with a little white space.

Grab your customer’s attention...QUICKLY

With 70% of Millennials stating they know little about what vehicle they intend to purchase when they first start looking, you need to grab their attention and grab it quickly with solid information and responses to questions. There will be multiple sites visited, and brand loyalty is almost a thing of the past. Features, mileage, and usability reign supreme. Capture your customers’ attention two ways:

  • Have a great website that is easy to navigate and does not overwhelm you with noises, music, and autoplay commercials on your site.
  • Respond to your customers inquiry quickly with a professional, informational, personalized response once they engage with you.

Regardless of when they are shopping, (and we know that about 30% of leads are coming into your dealership from 9pm-9am) they want a customized response that will address questions and needs. Autoresponders are not the right avenue. 

Make sure your digital space and responses are responsive

With 44% of Millennials using more than one connected device to shop for cars, your website and responses to customers must be responsive--they must format to any screen viewed on. Websites will have a leaner version for smartphones or tablets. Responses should automatically adjust so that the customer never has to scroll left to right. Simple adjustments make a world of difference in the usability of your site and will make it a more pleasant experience for your customer.

Train your front-line and sales people in the art of words.

Finally--we know that Millennials have more screen time than the generations before them. That does not mean they want to abandon face to face relational sales. Research is done online. Purchasing (big ticket items) is generally done face to face. With so many options and lessening brand loyalty, don’t lose a sale because of poor verbal skills or (more frequently) poor listening skills. This is a process that needs to be trained--and anyone dealing with customers should have this training. In our highly digital world, communication is more important than ever. Make sure you train your staff the right ways to communicate and listen to your customer.

Take Aways:

  • Millennials ARE buying cars
  • They are researching online, but shopping on lot. Be prepared for both!
  • Your online presence should mirror your dealership’s tone and values.

Aimi Gundersen is an Automotive Lead Specialists, Blogger, Speaker, Educator, and a Project Manager for BetterCarPeople. Aimi has her masters in communications and her doctorate in Higher Education and Adult Learning. Her life is dedicated to making people smarter, stronger, and more efficient in any capacity of work. Contact her at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Jonathan Dawson
Millennial, millennial, millenial. Haha, if your article were a drinking game no one could finish it standing straight. Thank you for highlighting great points about the differences and ways we can better understand and communicate with them.
Aimi Gundersen
@Jonathan--Thank you! Marketing is constantly changing--not just who we market to, but how. BTW--I did take three big sips of water.

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