Transparency is at the core of great relationships between businesses and consumers, and for dealerships, it’s even more important because customers are extremely focused on their overall buying experiences with you. They want to feel included in the process, informed of what’s going on, and up to date when it comes to pricing and financing. Shoppers already arrive at your dealership more informed than ever before, and when they approach you, they are looking for you to be up front and offer them additional facts.
While dealerships may not be able to put processes in place to meet every consumer need, it is possible to alleviate some pain points by addressing some things consumers find stressful when shopping for vehicles. In a recent Edmunds study, 54% of consumers confirmed they find data transparency especially important when searching for vehicles online, stating a large need that is often unmet is accessing actual vehicle prices and payments. When searching online, consumers often run across a single set eprice, rather than seeing individual prices. This system makes it difficult to plan financially for a large purchase, and it becomes frustrating for shoppers who are accustomed to the ease of online shopping and pricing in nearly every other industry. Studies have gone on to show that dealerships displaying realistic payments and pricing via their online sites are able to increase gross per-car profits.
When you offer transparency, you’re building consumer trust—an integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to standing out to shoppers. Today’s consumers want to feel as if they know and can trust the brands they’ve chosen, so the more personal you can make the shopping experience, the better. In today’s age of knowledgeable shoppers, businesses must continually be on their toes and ready to demonstrate new and innovative ways to meet needs, earn business, and make connections. Shoppers walk into your dealership armed with information they’ve collected from various sources; in fact, 51% of internet shoppers use a mobile device to help them find exactly the vehicles that will work for them. The better your dealership is at meeting consumers where they are and offering information that both confirms what they already know and adds value to their purchasing journey, the more likely you’ll be to earn their trust and loyalty.
If your dealership is ready to meet the most pressing consumer needs by providing a transparent process and building relationships that foster trust, there are some specific things that can help you along the way. Check out what consumers would like to see—and then determine if there’s a way your dealership can offer solutions to meet shoppers in the middle with flexible options:
Be clear with pricing and financing options. Shoppers looking for vehicle information online are interested in finding accurate pricing, as well as financing options that suit their needs. In fact, according to Edmunds’ 89% of shoppers arrive at the dealership with a specific vehicle in mind and believing they will purchase that vehicle. They have done their homework and are arriving at dealerships fully prepared to have the information they’ve researched match what they’re met with on the lot. When you make every effort to give shoppers up-to-the minute information regarding specific vehicle pricing and financing, they’ll appreciate your openness.
Simplify as much as possible. Autotrader’s Car Buyer of the Future study confirms consumers would be more willing to visit dealerships if the buying process were improved, and a full 53% of the group said they would purchase more often if the process were improved. It’s no secret shoppers are unhappy with the complicated and time-consuming process of buying cars, however, many dealerships continue to cling to the traditional ways of doing things. Dealerships that are changing things up and simplifying the buying experience, however, are seeing positive results in the form of happier, more engaged customers and improved car sales.
Offer convenience when you can. Everyone knows the car shopping journey can be long and sometimes tedious, so whenever you get the opportunity to alleviate some of the stress that’s involved, be sure to do so. Your customers will appreciate any steps you can take to shave time off the lengthy buying process, as well as anything you do to make them comfortable while they wait—so consider things like offering haggle-free pricing, speeding up paperwork by offering online options, and even beefing up your waiting areas to include free wifi and work stations.
Communicate and interact. Shoppers are spending plenty of time on various online platforms; they are interacting, researching, and engaging with each other. And that means you also need to be spending time in that space in order to establish a sense of openness and accessibility. When shoppers see your dealership as approachable—and when you place yourself in situations where you can easily interact and engage—you’ll automatically create transparency through communication.
The more open you are with your customers, the more they will see you as a trusted resource and a go-to when it’s time to buy or service their vehicles. Transparency throughout the customer experience is more than just a trend; it’s what your customers have come to expect, and when you offer it, shoppers will know they can turn to your dealership for accurate and honest information about purchasing, repairs, or maintenance. Not only will they know they’ll get the correct information, but they’ll also feel assured you’ll give them the best deal without a hassle. Service like that will bring loyal customers back to your dealership and keep sales rolling in.