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The first part of “Consumer Trends for 2011” – a research performed by trendwatching.com, showed three trends so far on how consumer behavior will change and how we, the dealerships can prepare ourselves successfully for the upcoming year.
We covered so far topics on “Consumer will look for more realness and human touches”, "Consumers will be more prone to try new products and new services” and that they will look out for “more targeted pricing and offers”. Which other trends will be important for dealerships to take a look at? The Part 2 will discover how important Status symbols are still for consumers and how a dealership will be able to get “Evangelists” involved in their referral business.
1. Consumers will look out for gaining Online Status Symbols Trendwatching.com clearly defines and recommends for businesses to supply costumers with any kind of symbol or badges. This “symbol” can be a virtual one (like we already know from Foursquare and their variety of “unlocking badges” and the mayor seal of one particular business location) or a “real world” one with real world prizes like T-shirts, caps or just special coupons. I can see you already frowning and ask yourself, “what in the world is a real world status symbol I can give to my customers?”, and it actually much more easier than you possible thought. Check your key fob, please! Do you see any CVS, Publix, Borders or Fitness Club member cards on it? Yes? – Here we go, that is what will be in 2011 even more valuable (and as we all know not a new idea). Checking on myself, I particular shop at these places, who had provided me with a key fob card, and as I do other consumers as well love to be members of a club, free of charge but with benefits allowing them to save more money than any other regular customers or even get a cheese bagel for free as you see here at the ad, asking particular for your card or tag.
In regards to the virtual world, we have seen and heard about car dealerships setting up their own iPhone or Android dealerships app into realty, with the idea to provide their customers with a feel of “security” (click the app and connect instantly) and “specials on demand”, without jumping on the computer, looking up the special page, hitting the print button, taking the paper…and so forth, you get the idea.
Last but not least, try to get your customers be the mayor of your dealership and reward her with a “bonus, bonus special”, just because they checked in at your dealership location again. When you didn’t do the task so far and at least checked out Google Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, Groupon or even Facebook Places please put it on your to-do list for early on in 2011. Get familiar with the Geo-location based services, promoting business who decided to create specials for particular check-ins (like mayor ships) or for everyone, who is coming by and is using your dealership for buying parts or needs service.
2. Consumers will convert into “Twin-sumers” and “Social-lites” Early on adapters, who knew how consumers selecting their dealerships in the future know what I am talking about. As trendwatching.com pointed out there will be two different kind of online shoppers in the future. One type will be the “Twin-sumer” – a consumer with similar consumer patterns, likes, dislikes and who are hence valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and where to get the best purchase experience.
You can be certain that these consumers will know how to work review sites like Yelp, Merchant Circle or more car specific review sites like dealerrater.com, Edmunds dealer reviews and Presto Reviews. When you are not familiar with any of these review sites – Holy Moly, it’s about time for you to get your team and dealership behind the idea of reputation management. An early on adapter on “how important customer reviews for a dealership can be”, is Dick Hannah Honda and its General Manager Joe Orr with more than 220 reviews on Dealerrater, dominating the entire state of Washington and giving Honda prospects a sense of security and the right place for a good deal.
On the other hand we have consumers operating as “Social-lites”, who are using their social circles and social affiliates to spread their experiences out into the world-wide web. Owning the business and trust of a “Social-lite” consumer, will make it possible to “grow” you an Evangelist and Advocate for your business. In the old days we had asked our customers for referrals, most of the time short after the sale or around 4 weeks later, hoping the customer had a name for us. Now, we know when a “Social-lite” was satisfied and agreed to take a photo for our Dealer Fan Page or doing a YouTube testimonial, she will be happy to spread the word throughout her circle of influence. Her followers will see the video or photo and she will get immediate responses out of it – your own Dealer Evangelist was just “created”.
This concludes part 2 of Trends for 2011 – What is your customer up to Part 3 will be posted in the next couple of days.