Getting into the Minds of Today’s Car Buyers

[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]Today’s car buyers prefer a hands-off sales approach when shopping for a new car, but they still want a good trade-in value and the best price. Deliver the incentives they seek and eliminate the need for upfront human interaction by allowing consumers to interact with your auto dealership through technology.

 

The stereotypical pushy car salesman at your local auto dealership is becoming a thing of the past as auto dealers change the way they sell cars to better respond to car buyers who are more informed and who demand a more personalized and hands-off approach.

 

“The majority of customers really don’t want to pick up phones and talk to dealers, or anyone in the sales process, anymore,” says Peyman Rashid, CEO of Fishers Imports in Fishers, Indiana. “They really want to hash everything out over the internet.

 

“Just a second ago, I had a guy who wants us to buy his car and sell him a car, and he wants us to have it delivered to Martinsville, and he doesn’t even want to come in,” he adds.

 

Car Buyers Prefer Online Research

 

Customers’ preference for a hands-off approach to car buying shines clear in PERQ’s recent Annual Car Buyer Insights Report, with an overwhelming 68% preferring contact by email, followed by text (25%) and phone (7%). Trade-in value (55%) and vehicle price (30%) remain the top two incentives that car buyers are most interested in.

 

It’s not like the old days, where a customer drives by a dealership, looks at 20 cars and then decides to buy one, Rashid says. Today’s customers conduct research online before ever stepping into an auto dealership, and if they find your dealership’s vehicles are overpriced, they quickly lose interest.

 

“When customers are coming here, 90 percent of the time they know exactly what they want and they know exactly what they want to pay,” Rashid says. “As long as we have those facts and put them together, we can sell a car a really fast.”

 

Fishers Imports implemented PERQ’s online guided shopping solution as an interactive feature on its website about a year ago and it’s changed the way the auto dealer conducts business by eliminating the need for upfront human interaction, Rashid says. “It allows you to interact with us through technology, giving you instant and accurate information without a human having to look it up and maybe not providing the right information,” he says.

 

PERQ’s analysis of car buyer insights also serves as a good refresher for Fishers Imports to pay attention to what’s working and really focus on those areas, he says. “We are so involved in our business every day, and there are times that we get carried away and lose our direction. PERQ shows us what’s working,” Rashid says, noting they can readjust their strategy as needed because data helps to inform them along the way.

 

The Human Touch Still Important When Buying a Car

 

With only a couple of months of data from the PERQ software on his company’s website, Bill Erbstoesser, e-Commerce Director at Sheboygan Auto in Wisconsin, says he’s pleased with the direction of the upgraded website, but he remains unconvinced that a majority of customers will start buying cars without visiting a dealership in person.

 

“I think the human touch in this whole thing still has a whole lot of relevance, especially when something goes south,” Erbstoesser says. “If everything is hunky dory, the customer gets a nice car and they don’t have any troubles with it, they don’t need the human being. But get into some difficulties, or some questions that were not answered properly or misconstrued through emails … can you really sell that unseen?”

 

Erbstoesser says while visiting a website is different than a showroom, it’s still as equally as important and must deliver what the customer is looking for. “The bottom line is you want to give them a great shopping experience, just like they would get if they were in here physically.”

 

While Sheboygan Auto has sold and shipped vehicles out of state, overseas, and even to Canada, Erbstoesser says a completely digital transaction works best when trade-ins are not part of the equation. “That isn’t as easy as it sounds,” he says. “If you’re just buying a new car from a dealership, that’s fine. You throw a trade in there, and you’ve got a whole other ball game.”

 

Car Buyers Value Trade-In and Price Incentives

 

Getting a good trade-in value or the best price on a new car encourages car buyers to move down the sales funnel more than any other incentive or special offer, according to the Insights Report.

 

The PERQ trade-in valuation module is popular with clients at Fishers Imports, Rashid says. “It’s a spot that every customer is worried about. What do they have? What is it worth?” he says. “PERQ allows the customer to do all of that [research] within our website. It basically minimizes customers leaving our site. They can get KBB [Kelley Blue Book] trade-in value, shop and know that the price is fair.

 

“We can really curb our business toward what their needs are,” Rashid says. “We are approaching the customer in a really educated manner and not starting from ground zero.”

 

Erbstoesser also likes that he can engage consumers on his website by asking them questions. For trade-in offers, however, he still prefers to make a real offer in person to avoid making a lowball estimate online and potentially losing the customer.

 

Consumers still want a good deal when they’re on your website. Offering an incentive, such as a coupon for an extra $100 toward a trade-in vehicle or other incentives further entices consumers to visit the showroom and make the purchase.

 

An Informed Car Buyer Makes a Better Buyer

 

The Car Buyer Insights report also shows an uptick in car buyers who aren’t quite ready to buy. 77% of shoppers felt like they were in the beginning or middle stages of the car buying process, while 68% said they were still browsing and doing general research.

 

Informed consumers definitely make better customers, Rashid says, adding that he’s sold cars to customers who make an instant decision to buy, but they often have second thoughts and buyer’s remorse after the fact.

 

“We’d much rather have a customer who is 100 percent educated about a car before they buy a car,” he says. “If a customer is not 100 percent educated about that car, we try to educate them, so when they buy it they feel good about it.”

 

Erbstoesser says he often lets existing customers speak for Sheboygan Auto through video testimonials that he emails to new leads. Through the PERQ leads, he’s now able to pull out the specific needs and wants of the customer and point them down the right sales funnel.

 

“The better we know the customer through their process, the better we can help them to get to where they want to be,” Erbstoesser says. “They’re definitely more informed — they know what they want.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Press Release: Majority of Visitors to Auto Dealership Websites Are Brand New Prospects, According to New Study from PERQ

[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]Conventional wisdom is that dealer websites are used primarily by existing customers – not true: 74% of websites visitors are new to dealership; new PERQ insights also reveal how consumer preferences such as test drives, drive train and interior space impact decisions.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Indianapolis, IN –March 13, 2018 – New data from thousands of consumer profiles studied by PERQ, experts in online consumer engagement and behavior, offers further evidence that the majority of visitors to dealership websites are hot new prospects who need to be guided into conversion. The research also offers key insights into the features consumers value as they make their car purchase decisions.

 

The new study, Car Buyer Insights Report 2018, defies the conventional wisdom that most dealership website visitors are existing customers. The reality? They are not: 74% are brand new– and 68% are still looking for information to educate them about the purchase, representing prime opportunities for conversion.

 

But, according to the data, while 77% are at the beginning or middle of their purchasing process, they want to transact sooner rather than later, so an efficient, engaging website experience that guides them down the purchase funnel is critical.

 

The research also offers key insights on consumer preferences that can help dealership websites better interact with these visitors, such as data on the number of cars they want to test drive (nearly a third want to test drive more than one), and what they are looking for in a drivetrain — an astonishing 59% said four-wheel or all-wheel drive is a priority.

 

In addition, the research reveals that, apart from safety, the most important feature in their prospective vehicle is interior space, which outweighs fuel economy, performance and technology, which was by far the least important feature.

 

“It’s critical for dealerships to expect their website to act as one of their best sales team members,” continued Medley.  “If they don’t, they are missing a massive opportunity, and letting all those dollars spent driving traffic turn into vapor.”

 

PERQ is known for its award-winning website technology that assists consumers in their decision making and guides them through the shopping process. Unlike other software, PERQ’s online guided shopping solution leverages consumer behavior data to serve up the next best step in the shopping process, increasing online engagement.

 

The company won multiple awards in 2017 for its software solution, including Product of the Year in the Big Business Awards and a Silver Best in Biz Award for Small or Medium Business Service of the Year.

 

The product’s success is also reflected in an over 78% increase in new clients and a tripling of revenues YOY. Most importantly, customer results were significant including generating on average 30% more leads, 15% higher close rate and 5% increase in gross profit from PERQ leads.

 

Study Methodology

 

PERQ reviewed consumer data captured from thousands of leads over 3 months, from a sampling of 350 auto dealership clients. Data is collected via all types of lead formats, and during all phases of the consumer journey in order to provide a more clear and targeted view of important consumer buying and research preferences.

 

About PERQ

PERQ (www.perq.com), a software provider that boosts website conversions by creating and delivering interactive, personalized experiences to the right consumers at the right time. Founded in 2001, PERQ solutions are used by more than 1,000 businesses across the United States. PERQ’s brands have been named to the Inc. “500 Fastest Growing Companies in America” list on three separate occasions, and PERQ Web Engagement is a 2017 Gold Stevie® Award winner for lead generation software.

 

PERQ Media Contacts

Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, melanie@mwebbcom.com or 949-307-1723

Cassandra Cavanah, mWEBB Communications, Cassandra@mwebbcom.com or 818-397-4630[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]