With online being the first and most comprehensive source of research when buying a car, the dealership’s ability to create trust online is fundamental to future business success.
Everything about the dealership a consumer can find online will feed into their perception of the business and will influence their final purchase decision long before they step onto your forecourt if, indeed, they actually undertake a visit.
Websites that incorporate a host of digital tools, enabling everything from arranging finance to evaluating the part exchange, an extensive range of stock images of each used vehicle, video, blogs and vlogs, to name just a few, help build trust.
The importance of the dealer website is reinforced by the 2020 CarGurus Car Buyer Trust Index as along with friends and family, it is the most used source of information for 33% of those surveyed when looking for a new or used car. However, despite its importance in the decision-making process, the report also found a trust deficit with dealer websites having the biggest with a perceived trust rating of 51%.
The report identified five areas which are crucial for building trust with car buyers:-
1. INTEGRITY (81%)
Consumers need to be persuaded that the business will deliver on its promises. A dealership’s integrity can be demonstrated through independent review sites so it’s imperative to encourage happy and loyal customers to ‘pen’ their thoughts. On the flip side, any negative comments should be responded to quickly and resolved.
2. RELIABILITY (79%)
Customers want a problem-free ownership experience so responding to queries and communicating clearly will help reinforce that message. A dealer’s reliability is possibly best conveyed by the digital tools in place such as the ability to book a test drive online and the quality of communication channels such as live chat to provide immediate and meaningful responses.
3. TRANSPARENCY (75%)
Car buyers want assurances that they’re not being ripped off so being open, honest and delivering on promises is a given. Transparency can be conveyed in various ways from pricing to videos online and multiple images of used cars for sale including depicting the mileage and highlighting any imperfections as well as providing an effective customer complaints resolution service.
4. GENUINENESS (72%)
Similarly, demonstrating the business is genuinely concerned about consumer needs and acting in their best interest will be judged by the individual’s own experience both in the online arena and in-store. But some age-old criticisms of automotive retail ring true here – respond quickly, avoid industry jargon and resist the hard sell!
5. SOCIAL CONSCIENCE (53%)
Most businesses have a designated charity but remember consumers want to see the evidence so make sure you’re active and supportive whilst highlighting your environmental credentials will go a long way whether that’s the vehicles themselves or how you’re reducing your business’ carbon footprint.