SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Many dealership customers remain dissatisfied with the current car-buying process and 84% begin their journey online, but the vast majority still expect and desire to negotiate the price in person, according to a new report commissioned by Jumpstart Automotive Media in partnership with Ipsos.
“Today’s Auto Buyer and the Digital Retailing Experience” set out to address the overall dealership experience and what consumers expect in order to transact on a sale and reach even higher satisfaction marks. Analysts found email is an effective way for dealers and consumers to communicate once the buying process commences. Consumers like to ask buying questions in a way that feels less vulnerable, and it’s a good way to inquire about inventory. However, they added, the deeper into the sales process, the more important face-to-face communication becomes.
In fact, the report states, 76% of consumers believe they get better pricing by negotiating in person as opposed to online. What’s more, analysts found that consumers want more in-person communication than dealers might think. This is one example of the disconnect that remains between dealers and consumers, said Libby Murad-Patel, vice president of marketing and strategic insights for Jumpstart.
“It’s important to provide the right experience during research to get the customer interested in walking through the door, but it all comes down to the dealership experience and there are several ways sales staff can increase their chances of a successful transaction,” Murad-Patel said “Understanding how to effectively communicate with the customer, recognizing how to see common ground on what is a ‘fair price,’ and treating each customer with respect will always be a winning combination to build more sales potential.”
Overall, the report found that 61% of consumers were satisfied with their dealership experience. Those that were dissatisfied were least happy with the finance department. However, their dissatisfaction may have been more a result of not qualifying for advertised terms than how they were treated by staff. In general, a simple, fast experience (37%) and transparent pricing (33%) are what consumers want most in their experience.
To access the complete report and methodology, click here.