These days, one of the first places you’re likely to go to look for your next motor is online. Car buying sites are so widely used nowadays that you’d be forgiven for thinking that the traditional car dealership is all but dead.
Not so, according to a new study.
CitNOW conducted a survey of 1000 consumers, and found that 55% of them visited a dealership as part of buying their last car. This is up from 48% in previous reports, flying in the face of some predictions that car dealerships are falling out of favour, and even industry announcements (such as Honda’s plan to cut its number of sites within the next two or three years.)
The company, which specialises in image and video for the automotive industry, also discovered the impact that the age of consumers has on where they choose to look for a car. 69% of over 55’s visited a dealership, compared to 45% of those aged 35-44. There was also a slight gender gap, with men more likely than women to visit a dealership in person to buy their next car.
These statistics, along with many others, were compiled as part of CitNOW’s recent “Evolution of the Car Buyer” Report – and though it paints an optimistic picture for car dealerships across the country, our habits regarding them have changed.
The study found that out of those surveyed, 1 in 10 would expect to buy a car immediately when they visit a retailer, rather than browsing multiple different forecourts first. Therefore, the company emphasised that car dealerships needed to diversify if they were to stay on top.
Carol Fairchild, Commercial Director of CitNOW, said that “Motorists clearly still covet that face-to-face customer experience and want the buying journey to be a personal one with the dealership.”
“The challenge for retailers is standing out; making sure that they are using technology like video – which offers a personal, face to face experience remotely – to build customer engagement before they even set foot in the dealership. In doing so, dealerships can make sure customers are visiting their forecourt, rather than the one next door.”
Strategies that build this – like engaging social media – might seem secondary to customer experience, but as you’ll know if you’ve ever bought a car before, recognising the company beforehand can make all the difference. This is especially true for the 35-44 year old age group, who the statistics show might need that little bit more encouragement to go to a dealership.
Whether you’re buying your maiden motor or are a vehicular veteran, buying a car can seem like a minefield. Luckily, our friends at Carwow are here to help. They compare prices from local and national dealers, you can get the car you want, where you want, at a competitive price. Click here [link] to go to their website and start exploring!
Did you go to a dealership to buy your last car, or are you planning to for your first? What could dealerships do to be more appealing? Let us know in the comments!