With an unprecedented number of shoppers visiting your online showroom from the comfort of their homes, competition has never been more stiff. Transparency around pricing is one of the best ways to gain customers.
Pretend you’re a customer. You’re stuck at home, unable to make the trip to your local dealership whose doors are closed amidst the COVID-19 crisis. You don’t have a deep knowledge of the automotive industry or how all the ins and outs of pricing and incentives work. You have a favorite make, maybe even a model, but that’s where your expertise ends. Now, if you see a website that tells you that new car you’ve been eyeing is $20,000, what are the chances you know what that actually means for your bank account? Pretty close to zero.
Because we know that a car’s listed price is really more of a ballpark. There are taxes, fees, incentives, rebates, the list goes on and on of all the various factors that will impact that $20,000 price tag. Then, on top of everything else, there’s the simple fact that even if we settle on an actual price, your customers still have no idea if they can afford that car or not. Ultimately understanding the monthly payment amount and how that fits into their budget is critical for your shoppers. Making matters worse, during this pandemic, most of our savings are taking even more of a beating than usual, making your customers even more price conscious than usual.
End to end digital retailing, even today, is quite a bit off from being the norm, but at a time where dealership online traffic is through the roof exposing your customers to payments is critical. DealerOn to the rescue with our new product APEX (which we are giving away for FREE right now), which makes personalizing payments online super easy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise creating a transparent shopping experience is important to your customers, but here’s why.
- It promotes trust
Car dealers have a reputation for shadiness, the implication being that a slick sales rep will trick the consumer into overpaying for a car, and these days we don’t have a whole lot to overpay with. The most effective way to combat that impression is by showing that it is entirely false. Be up front. A customer with the information at hand will know for a fact they aren’t being hoodwinked.
86% of all consumers research a car online before buying it. This is your first chance to make a good impression. If your dealership comes up on a Google search, then you have a potential customer. That individual will look into the specific vehicle that interests them. If your website enables them to do a price check and actually see what that vehicle is going to cost them each month, that’s a point in favor for trust. And if they come in later and that price check is largely accurate? You’ve started a trusting relationship with a customer who will not only come back, but recommend your dealership to others.
- Reminds customers of the cost
This one is going to sound a little strange, but here goes. A monthly payment reminds customers of the cost, and that’s a good thing.
Research on the psychology of consumption basically states that the more a consumer is reminded of the cost of a good or service, the more likely they are to use it. You can see this kind of thing in memberships to gyms, or museums, or zoos. Essentially, if the membership is a single lump sum, you feel compelled to make use of it right when you spend the money. Then the pain of the expenditure fades, and you feel less and less of a need to make sure you’ve got your money’s worth.
Source (psychology): https://hbr.org/2002/09/pricing-and-the-psychology-of-consumption
How does this apply to cars? We’re not arguing for lump sum payments; this is more about a customer knowing the cost of the car in advance. While it’s a comparatively minor point here, it puts the idea of time passing in the minds of your customers. And what does that do? It could remind them of the service needs on their present vehicle. It certainly gives your sales staff a chance to highlight your no doubt excellent service department. Considering how important that is to the bottom line, any excuse to do that is most welcome.
- Customer experience is paramount
When you look at surveys over what brings customers back to a specific business again and again, the number one result is customer experience. This is one of those things that’s glaringly obvious once it’s been stated. So your goal is to make sure your customers have the absolute best experience possible.
Source (experience): https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/
While the entire breadth of customer experience is outside the scope of this particular article, you can start with price. Every person who has ever bought something has had a negative experience where they felt cheated. Simply being transparent from the jump is the easiest way to keep your customers from feeling this way. They already have enough anxiety over such a big purchase anyway. Knowing their monthly payments early on is going to go a long way toward that nebulous and all-important customer experience. Add to that, online car shoppers are visiting more sites than they normally would while homebound, so having a customer experience that gives more information than your competitors and stands out from the pack is very important.
The price of a car isn’t always the top concern in a customer’s mind, but it’s on the list. With household budgets stretched to the limit in these trying times, money is more of a concern than ever. Help take the pressure off by letting them know how much they’re paying as far in advance as possible. You can do that, with no effort on your part, with APEX or your digital retailing solutions of choice. Your customers will thank you for it. And how do customers thank their favorite businesses? By shopping there again.