Auto Dealers and Modern Shopping Habits

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Nicole Marcellino

Modern shopping habits have changed drastically in the last 10 years and the changes have greatly empowered the customers. Consumers have access to more information than ever before and dealers need to adjust the way they are providing service. The days of a window shopper popping into a dealership and spending a day test driving cars are long gone. In fact, 46% of consumers prefer to do their auto shopping online. So, what does that mean for you? It means that two experiences must now be offered to create a loyal customer 1) Online shopping experience and 2) Brick and Mortar shopping experience. Both are equally important and evolving to offer what the modern consumer wants will keep you one step ahead of your competition.

We all know that 2022 has been a challenge. Low inventory is an issue all dealers have faced and it has created new shopping trends for consumers. It is forcing them to look more at used cars, or it means that they are driving their own cars longer. Either way, used cars and older have something in common: they both need extra service and parts. A great way to generate customer loyalty is to offer parts and accessories through an easy-to-navigate website. Think about making the parts and accessories available globally rather than locally. Expanding your market expands your customer base and keeps your dealership profitable during this time of less inventory.

Although 46% of your customers prefer to shop online, the other half are still wanting the brick-and-mortar experience. You must be prepared to offer both. These are savvy consumers that come in knowing what they want and have already researched inventory and pricing before coming in. The best salesperson will learn to adapt to a new wave of savvy shoppers and help provide solutions for their consumers rather than just a sales pitch. Knowledge is power for both the consumer and the salesperson. Knowing your product and your dealership workflow is the best way to move a consumer to “ready to buy”.  Knowing as much as the well-researched consumer is crucial in the industry’s technological transformation.

We no longer need to just provide a great walk-in experience. The modern consumer is well researched and empowered with knowledge. Make sure your team is just as knowledgeable and help provide that searchable information to your consumer by offering a great online platform. Make sure your service department is a part of that online business by offering parts and accessories globally and adjusting to the issue of low inventory by working more in used cars and parts.

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