What Do Car Buyers Really Want Online? Consumer Q&A

What Do Car Buyers Really Want Online? Consumer Q&A

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Shopping for a car can be a time-consuming process. Help potential car buyers through the research process to convert online leads into sales. We talked to online car buyers to find out if dealership websites met their expectations.

 

When car buyers begin their search for a vehicle, they usually start online, researching car dealerships, checking Kelley Blue Book and looking around for local deals. It’s a time-consuming and frustrating process, according to recent car buyers we interviewed.

 

What consumers prefer is a simplified car shopping experience that offers personalized information on a car dealer’s website, from customized sales promos that apply to the exact vehicle that interests them to tools that calculate trade-in appraisals and give Kelley Blue Book valuation data.

 

We talked to a dozen car buyers this month to see if their expectations were met when they began searching for a car and narrowing down dealerships, and asked them what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about the process. Here are some common answers we heard from people who recently purchased or shopped for a vehicle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237431822{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340004750{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Q: Did You Do Online Research Before Buying a Car?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522244675075{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]A: “The websites of both manufacturers and local dealers all helped in our research,” says Bruce Smith, who bought a new Honda Odyssey in May. “Websites are a valuable tool for research, price comparison and to make an introduction. In the end, I like to take that in person to the dealer’s lot to talk cars, test drive and kick the tires.”

 

A: “Yes, I checked the CARFAX report, recalls and rebates, Blue Book value, and looked up tips for dealing with car salesmen,” says Joi Nichelle, who bought a 2016 Chevy Malibu from a dealership. “I also looked at Chevy dealer websites to see what model I wanted.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237431822{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340014280{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Q: Should Car Dealership Websites be More Personalized and Engaging?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522244737206{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]A: “I do believe they should be. It would make the customer feel like they were able to tell dealers exactly what they want, and honestly this would be a plus for the salesman by saving them some questions,” Nichelle says. “I’d appreciate seeing what I last searched, in case I forgot.”

 

A: “It would be helpful if they remembered your previous searches, if you come back later after searching other sites,” says Elizabeth Nuzum, who purchased a 2016 Subaru Impreza through a dealership a week after she totaled her Nissan truck.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237431822{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531340023222{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Q: What Was Your Biggest Frustration As You Researched Cars Online?

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522244853405{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]A: “Don’t advertise things as specials that you don’t even have on the lot,” says Richard Bilbrey, a police officer and newlywed who recently tried to find his wife a Jeep Renegade and gave up after a disappointing experience with three separate dealerships. He called all three after finding a Renegade listed for sale on their website. “They didn’t have the vehicle [they advertised online] — close but not what I was told. Hell, one wasn’t even the right model Jeep.”

 

A: “The manufacturer websites were more helpful than the dealer websites, which were a little more amateurish,” says James McAllister, who works as a senior software developer. “On the upside, the dealer sites did have some of their inventory listed, but I don’t know how accurate it was.”

 

McAllister ended up buying a 2017 Chevy Colorado after visiting two local dealerships. It was his first vehicle purchase in 17 years. “The difference now is that I could get a lot of information online and narrow down my options,” he says. “That made it a lot easier.”

 

More information isn’t always a good thing, however, as many car buyers report feeling overwhelmed by online research. Dealers can help consumers by breaking down the information on their website into limited, interactive calls to action that accurately reflect where the customer is in the car buying journey.

 

We’ve learned through our own research that online consumers prefer websites that remember them and provide custom suggestions based on what they’re searching. Just think about the success of your favorite internet retailers, and how they engage and guide you throughout your virtual shopping trip.

 

By integrating interactive automotive software on your website, you have an opportunity to individually target each visitor and serve up personalized tools and deals, giving potential customers an incentive to stay on your site and ultimately visit your dealership.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to Manage Furniture Customer Expectations

How to Manage Furniture Customer Expectations

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]It isn’t always easy to manage furniture customer expectations. To win customers, it’s necessary for retailers to create a connected online experience that’s easy to navigate, keeping inventory updated and also engaging with consumers online in a fun, interactive way.

 

As a Product Marketing Manager at PERQ, I’m constantly talking to people about their online research habits, especially when it comes to furniture shopping. It helps me to work with our team to create interactive experiences online to not only help consumers, but also improve furniture retailer websites to better manage furniture customer expectations in order to drive more in-store sales.

 

My co-workers at PERQ also know I like to hear about their online shopping experiences, so I can continue to find solutions to website visitor’s pain points. Two recent examples really stood out, and when I walked away from those conversations, I knew there were some educational tips I could share with furniture retailers to improve the online experience.

 

“I began my research by seeing what was available on websites like Wayfair.”

 

Sean Larkin, a Sales Development Representative at PERQ, bought a new house this spring and needed to furnish it. Like most consumers today, he started with a simple Google search. “I began my research by seeing what was available on websites like Wayfair,” he says. He knew, ultimately, he would purchase at a local store in person, but had to first determine what type of furniture he wanted to buy and what he could afford.

 

After looking at Wayfair, he begin researching local stores. “I looked at about six stores online and visited two of those stores,” says Larkin. “I didn’t end up buying from those stores though.” Sean told me he found himself frustrated and ready to settle when there was no consistency or interaction between the furniture retailers’ websites and when he visited the store. After a futile effort to purchase at a local furniture store, he settled for a purchase from Macy’s.

 

It’s a must that furniture retailers win both the online experience and in-store experience. They go hand-in-hand. From my conversations with furniture shoppers, I gained some helpful tips to create a connected online experience to move those website visitors into your showroom and manage furniture customer expectations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531353929874{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Make Your Furniture Website, and Store, Easy to Navigate

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Just like you focus on the aisles of your showroom and keeping them clean of clutter, do the same for your website. You can help to manage furniture customer expectations through an easy, guided experience online. Buyers don’t want to figure out a puzzle of a website. Lead them where they want to go, just like your best salespeople do in the store.

 

“The most frustrating part of my online shopping experience was the unorganized keyword search bars,” said Matt Keller, a Sales Development Representative at PERQ. “There was no helpful tool to really narrow down what I was looking for.”

 

Re-doing your furniture store’s website navigation structure or search capabilities can be an expensive overhaul, but you can look for other ways to engage consumers and guide them through their shopping journey. Interactive experiences, such as a mattress assessment that guides consumers to find the mattress fit, is one way to improve the navigation process without a complete site overhaul.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531353911462{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Manage Furniture Customer Expectations by Keeping Product Inventory Updated

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Consumers want to know what you have available in your store and what it costs. They want to know this before they even come into your furniture store – meaning your website needs to be up-to-date as much as possible. And if they see it on your website, they expect that same furniture to be in your showroom. Yes, it gets daunting when you consider all the custom options, colors and fabrics, but try to mirror your digital showroom to your physical showroom as much as possible.

 

“What I saw online and in-person were two completely different things,” Keller says. “Eventually, I just stopped online shopping after five long, frustrating months.”

 

Also be sure to have accurate dimensions available online. Consumers research on your website to better understand not only what products could be right for them, but how something could potentially fit into their home. A little information goes a long way when you’re helping to manage furniture customer expectations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531353807785{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Engage and Interact with Your Consumers in a Respectful and Creative Way

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Consumers are thirsty for real, useful engagement. In a showroom, consumers don’t want to feel like they’re being stalked or followed, but they also want someone to be available to help if needed.

 

The same goes for online. Consumers want to engage with you in an easy fashion, but on their terms. Give them a way to engage and interact with you. Online interactive experiences such as “Ask an Expert” or “Request More Info” give consumers a chance to raise their hand with a question when they want to do it, on their own time.

 

“Furniture store websites were very boring and static with no real way to engage or interact with the brand. They didn’t offer a whole lot,” Larkin says of his online furniture shopping experience.

 

Furniture stores have an opportunity to help to manage furniture customer expectations and stop buyer frustrations. Consumers are shopping and researching online and are pre-conditioned to expect great things from your website. Don’t let them leave your website feeling disappointed with their experience. Engage and interact with them – start a conversation that will ultimately bring them into your store and not a competitor or big box retailer.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

5 Things I Learned at July’s Women In Automotive Conference

I reluctantly got out of my seat in the back of the room and made my way to the cocktail line for the networking reception. I hate networking. I know I shouldn’t. I’m a VP of Sales for goodness sake. But, I do. As I stood in line, I challenged myself to introduce myself to the woman behind me — and then, everything changed. This woman was so open, friendly and approachable. It was only the beginning of three days of celebrating our female peers.

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What Customers Expect from Online Furniture Shopping Today

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]When it comes to online furniture shopping, customers today expect to be able to find the information they need easily, regardless of the retailer — from family-owned stores to online giants. Furniture buyers shared with us what retailers must do to meet their expectations.

 

Sixty percent of shoppers start their search for new furniture online, according to a study conducted by Luth Research in 2016. On the Internet, modern shoppers have the ability to compare inventory, learn about shipping and assembly costs, and ultimately find those pieces they most want to purchase.
 

When it comes to online furniture shopping, customers expect to be able to find the information they need easily. Furniture retailers must offer a personalized digital experience that entice visitors to come into their store.

 

We spoke to several furniture shoppers who have made a major furniture purchase within the last six months, or who plan to buy again soon. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences and expectations while shopping for furniture online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522243184754{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Furniture Shoppers Want to Compare Options Online

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Today’s customers know they have options for buying furniture, and they expect a good digital experience from any retailer when they start their research. Because shoppers are prone to compare local furniture stores with international brands and also web-only outlets, no furniture retailer can afford to offer a substandard online furniture shopping experience.

 

Christina Wade starts with Amazon because of the easy shipping. “I always look on Amazon because I travel too much for work,” she says. “I like that I can get things delivered in two days. That said, I ended up making my most recent purchase from Wayfair because they had a great price on a couch style I wanted. I only looked online.”

 

While not every retailer can compete with free two-day shipping, they can bring other value like good deals and specialized inventory to motivate customers to shop with them. To compete with these big names, furniture retailers must offer the same type of personalized website experience, remembering customers and their shopping preferences.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner row_type=”row” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” css=”.vc_custom_1521232210156{padding-top: 25px !important;}”][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1568914992041{padding-left: 25px !important;}”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1568915203446{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]It may sound difficult to compete, but it’s as simple as using interactive calls to action on your website that engage visitors through quizzes and assessments that help them narrow their options and leads a consumer down the furniture buying path.

 

Brad King offers a different perspective. “I recently moved to a new city, so I looked both at online retailers who could deliver, and also at local stores. That included big box retailers like IKEA and local stores. I generally like to support locally-owned places if I can find something that delivers what I want.” That priority for local is common among today’s customers. The easier retailers can make online furniture shopping, the more they can entice those local visitors in-store.

 

“The website is where I was making most of my decisions,” King says. “I needed to have a good experience not only searching for furniture, but also finding information about delivery times and cost. If I had to make a call or go into the store to get that information, I didn’t really have the time to do that.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522243384861{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Online Furniture Shopping Must Be Informative

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]It is not enough to show pictures of inventory to convert today’s furniture shopper. Customers want to know exactly what’s available to them before they step foot into a store, if they do at all. That means websites must give users any information they want without having to speak to a sales associate.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522243445687{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]Wade also adds that powerful search options are one of her favorite aspects of the bigger online stores: “I like an easy sort option that allows me to put in the kind of furniture I want and gives me options that match my criteria.”

 

Customer reviews are another easily overlooked source of information that many customers like during the online furniture shopping experience. Consumers we talked to say they want clear input from other customers so they can have a better understanding of each piece’s strengths and weaknesses.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1522244152670{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Consumers Want to Shop Online  – and in Person

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Today’s furniture buyers expect to shop their way, and that means navigating from the website into the store (or to the checkout window) seamlessly.

 

Some customers are on the hunt for the best deals, some want to see inventory with their own eyes, and some just want to know exactly what they’re getting before they commit, whether that’s in person or online.

 

Breanne Swim narrows her options first, doing online research up front. “I usually looked at styles online, but when it came time to purchase, I went to three stores in person,” she says. While modern shoppers like to browse online, some also have FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to seeing local inventory in person.

 

Furniture retailers can entice online visitors to come to their store by getting them to commit to an in-store consultation online.

 

Finally, King reiterates how important it was to him that a website truly reflect everything there is to know before he moves forward with a purchase. “I need information on cost, availability and assembly charges,” he says. “There are few sites that provide that level of information.” For shoppers like King, those sites that best inform are the ones that will win his business.

 

A winning strategy for any furniture retailer must include a website that allows users to craft their own personal experience and get compelling, relevant information about the furniture they might purchase. Retailers must understand that different customers have different points of view, so it’s important to give plenty of accurate information.

 

Interactive website experiences that help the user talk about themselves and their needs will allow for a more customized experience, which has proved to be the key to drive online traffic to in-store sales.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Press Release: PERQ Expands into Canada: Offers Personalized Web Engagement Technology that Increases Dealership Leads, Car Sales

Interactive, personalized website experiences ramp up dealer conversions; Canadian dealer sees 31% lead to sale conversion rate in just one month on PERQ’s platform.

 

Indianapolis, IN July 12, 2017 – PERQ, which offers a game changing web-engagement platform, now offers its services in Canada where early adopters are already reaping significant results.

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