A recent event held by Edmunds named “Hackomotive” brought together some of the brightest technology innovators in the automotive industry. The purpose of this event was to streamline the automotive buying process for consumers. Technology and shopping portals are increasingly becoming more prominent in our industry. A couple of companies that are gaining steam include the Google Autos program that passes along leads via anonymous contact information, and TrueCar’s no-haggle pricing. These highlight how today’s consumers are seeking ways to avoid many of the pain points involved in the process of purchasing a vehicle. Some notable entries in this event included Carvoyant, which allowed customers to test drive vehicles without going to a dealership or even speaking with a salesperson, along with the ultimate winner, CarCode SMS, which let consumers interact with consumers via text messaging. This trend of anonymity and consumer desire to no longer interact directly with dealerships is something to keep an eye on. It presents some unique challenges that it would be wise to plan for:
The rise of these services and consumer desire to buy factory direct can be tied right to the consumer experience. If consumers had great experiences in their auto buying journey, we wouldn’t be seeing some of these trends, and these trends wouldn’t be gaining as much ground. Customers want information, transparency and customer service. It doesn’t matter where you’re shopping – Nordstrom, Best Buy, Wal-Mart – if a salesperson was following you around the store continuously asking you to buy something every 5 minutes, you would get annoyed. The same basic principle applies to any retail environment, including car dealerships. Here’s a great example of one dealership that has successfully changed up its processes, that was recently posted on Edmunds.com
If dealerships work to create a fun shopping experience for consumers; give them the information they need when asked and create a more efficient process, consumers may in turn feel comfortable visiting dealers and sharing their information once again. Dealerships that create a more efficient processes and reduce as many of these consumer pain points as possible, will be well positioned to attract customers and generate more sales.