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Joey Little

Joey Little Vice President of Social Strategy

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Educated Consumers are Empowered Customers

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Today’s consumers are more educated than ever, and that plays an enormous role in how they interact with your dealership and what they expect when they set foot onto your showroom floor. It’s important your dealers are prepared to interact with a generation that has access to endless information online and prefers utilizing it by researching their options before coming to visit you.

Working with Knowledgeable Consumers to Provide the Customer Experience They Want

In 2015, the consumers really are who’s setting the pace for dealerships, and businesses in general. First, it’s important that your dealership understands how consumers are educating themselves:

  • 91% of consumers are using a personal computer or laptop, and 80% of consumers use their mobile devices to search the internet.
  • 42% of consumers use their mobile device to do automotive research.
  • 97% of consumers use the internet for vehicle research.
  • 95% of the millennial generation uses the internet to shop for cars.
  • 70% of millennials end up purchasing the same make/model they had in mind—from research done beforehand—when they first visited the dealership.
  • 70% of a buyer’s journey is complete before they even reach out to you.
  • 63% of shoppers use their mobile devices for research while shopping on an auto lot.

Next, your dealership’s way of handling the educated consumer is key in how a consumer will react to you and if a consumer will become your customer. AutoTrader.com’s Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence, Isabelle Helms, says, “Since the majority of millennials are decided on which vehicle they want to purchase by the time they get to the dealership, the opportunity for dealers and OEMs to influence their purchase decisions is online—where millennials spend the majority of their shopping time.” Therefore, focusing on reaching out to your consumers while they’re in the research stage and before they head into your dealership is just as important as how you address educated consumers once they’re on the showroom floor.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Several tactics that appeal to the modern, educated consumer can benefit your dealership and ensure you’re able to influence them and provide them with helpful information before they hit your showroom floor:

Use intelligent advertising. Because the majority of your consumers are already online providing data, your dealership has the ability to send personalized messages and target specific personas better than ever. Learn the ins and outs of intelligent advertising, and be ready to implement it within your dealership.

Provide a constant stream of useful content. Today’s consumers want knowledge available at their fingertips and value reliability. By providing content that’s useful to your specific audience and consistently posting according to a schedule your audience can rely on, your dealership will gain attention, trust, and customers.

Avoid advertising throughout the majority of your content. When consumers sense a sales pitch in your content, it will generally cause them to stop reading and stop clicking altogether. Make sure the information you’re providing via your content on social media and online platforms is focused primarily around providing information and not advertising to consumers. Instead, it’s always a better idea to end a blog post or informational content with a call to action that can solve the problem you’re addressing in your content.

Your employees’ interactions with consumers once they arrive at your dealership are just as important in solidifying new customers and representing your brand in a positive light. Positive interactions and attentiveness will keep customers returning and referring:

Be authentic. The final statistic listed in the bulleted list above is worth repeating: 63% of shoppers use their mobile devices for research while shopping on an auto lot. This is because modern consumers would much rather participate in unenjoyable tasks such as doing taxes, giving up sex for a month, or going to the DMV than bargain with a dealer. Consumers often have the misconception that all dealers are dishonest, and it’s important to be open, authentic, and honest from the first interaction with a potential customer to end that stigma, gain trust, and turn someone who’s “just looking” into a buying customer.

Be haggle-free. Nine out of 10 consumers would be more likely to purchase a vehicle if there was a set price they felt good about, rather than having to haggle. This tactic goes hand-in-hand with a dealership being authentic from the start. Once consumers set foot onto your lot, they want to experience authenticity, whether that be via dealers or prices.

Offer explanation. We know modern and educated consumers want knowledge. Offer them insights, talk with them, and provide all the options. It’s important not to leave out certain pieces of information or use leading tactics because often modern consumers have done enough research to know what’s going on or to know what questions to ask. It’s much easier for a customer to feel at ease and trust a dealer when they’re providing the answers without the customer having to ask or feeling like bits of information are being left out.

Don’t be pushy. Customers often value a dealer that’s made themselves known and available but don’t want to be pressured into a decision. Being too pushy can often cause a potential customer to come up with a reason to leave instead of car shopping on your lot. In other words, after your initial approach, give a car shopper space but remain within an available distance and offer helpful, honest advice when it’s needed. It’s also important to realize that even if your customer doesn’t choose the option you favor or believe is best, as long as you’ve provided all the information and pointed out the specifics you believe are important, don’t push it.

To make sure that your dealership is providing the best experience to the modern, educated consumer and gaining more customers, it’s important to know what works best with consumers both before they head into your dealership and after they’ve arrived. As long as you know the majority of car shoppers are now doing all of their research beforehand, it can also ensure your dealership knows how and why to reach out to consumers online during the research stage and also give you the assurance that you have the best approach toward consumers once they’ve arrived at your dealership.

The image used in this post was provided by freedigitalphotos.net.

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