Automotive Recruiting: How the .Com Marketplace is Changing Dealership Sales Teams

Today’s car buying experience is quickly evolving into something that looks a lot like modern day dating.  Most experiences are beginning with an online matching making dance, uniting sellers with buyers in an impersonal exchange, until both parties determine this could be “the one” and set up a face to face meeting.    A 2016 Car Buyer Journey study captured this notable change.

  • 88% of consumers now begin their vehicle shopping experience online.
  • 71% of buyers purchased a vehicle based on their online research.
  • 46% of online shoppers will visit only one dealership prior to purchase.
  • 52% of internet consumers will test drive only one vehicle.
  • 60% of the time spent buying a vehicle is now done online.
  • Once an online shopper has arrived at the dealership, there is a less than 30% chance of changing their purchasing decision.

In a .com driven marketplace, consumers prefer online shopping experiences over traditional retail transactions.  According to Time Magazine’s Money, if given the opportunity 75% of consumers would consider making their entire vehicle purchasing online, including home delivery.  The traditional vehicle buying experience is professed to be long, involving mounds of paperwork and dragged out by back and forth and “walk away from the deal” haggling practices; leaving today’s consumer feeling like they are wasting their time.

According to a May 2017 US Demographics report, 24.9% of the population is over 55 years of age and Generation X and Millennials make up 48.2% of the population.  It is from this pool of consumers the automobile industry must target potential buyers.  With the majority of the consumer base being from Generation X and Millennials, it is no wonder that 56% of today’s automotive industry consumers choose to start the negotiation process on online and 45% would prefer to remain anonymous until a deal is struck.

So, what is causing this change in trend?  Online purchases allow consumers to multitask during the process, which is perceived as a time savings.  Stress is reduced because face to face time only occurs once all parties believe this is a good fit.  The experience is deemed transparent because conversations occur in black and white emails and texts.  If this is how Generation X and Millennials pick out who they date, why not pick out what they drive in this manner?

In order to gain market share, a dealership must shift from traditional retail sales and into internet sales, with salespeople who can navigate the tricky online communication gaps.   Mark O’Neil, COO of Cox Automotive, predicts that by 2019 at least 10% of vehicles purchases will be made fully online.  It has also been forecasted in an Automotive News February 2017 article, that in 1-2 years consumers will readily be able to conduct vehicle purchases from the world wide web, following in the footsteps of other companies offering online purchasing services.

Is your dealership ready?  Do you have salespeople who can navigate customer service and closing via online communications?  Just think about it!  How many times have you texted someone and had your communications misunderstood?  Maybe it is time to start considering those internet savvy communicators for your sales team.


The Manus Group Stephanie YoungAbout the Author

Stephanie Young is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Manus Group, where she is an active blogger, social media contributor and spokesperson for one of the nation’s leading automotive recruiting and training firms. In here spare time, Stephanie mentors and encourages  young woman to pursue their interests in STEM field careers and is the driving force in her “Share the Love…Be a Volunteer” program.

If you like this blog, please share with others and connect with Stephanie on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Copyright © 2017, Stephanie Young All rights reserved.

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