We can do “everything” from our phone – from the ability to order food, get a cab, check the weather, monitor our health, play games, take pictures, monitor the security of our homes and so much more. So what about buying a car?
The average user spends considerable time and effort doing research before they ever set foot on a car lot. They a researching not only what vehicles they want to consider, but financing options and things that relate to price like incentives and special offers. The last thing they want to do is have to rely on a car salesperson to be their sole source of education as the profession is the second least trustworthy only to politicians.
Sources for research go beyond Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and include third party content that can be pulled from all over – from news aggregators, publications or even third party marketplaces. But dealerships are an important source too. While car salespeople may not be deemed as trustworthy, their websites are seen as more impartial and thus are considered more trustworthy.
A growing trend is “showrooming”. It’s when prospective buyers use their mobile device to look for similar vehicles. The prospective buyer is looking to see if there is something else they want – a different vehicle, dealership or price. This is the worst possible scenario for a dealership – it’s akin to walking off the lot and going elsewhere but can be done in an instant. It’s not a concept unique to the automotive industry; it’s common throughout the retail industry.
Did you know more than 3 out of 5 consumers (60%) who used a mobile device while shopping at a dealership visited a competitor within 24 hours? So what’s a dealership to do? Provide the best possible digital experience. Does this mean the ability to buy a car right from your phone? I think it does. But not everyone is ready for that; look at how long it took some people to adopt smartphones… but the interim steps of providing a mobile-friendly website, text capabilities, chat, etc. aren’t just nice to have, they are table steaks.