Most car buyers today do research online before they walk into a dealership, leveraging their access to more information than ever before—including vehicle features, reviews and financing options. With the rise of the digitally savvy car buyer comes an even greater need for a dealer who can effectively serve as an equally savvy consultant to deliver an amazing experience both online and at the dealership.
In an evolving auto market, dealers are more important than ever. Car buyers look to dealers to be trusted advisers, helping them understand the huge trove of data at their disposal. What dealers need now is the power to meet car buyers where they are in the process by integrating the online and in-person experiences based on the customers’ needs.
While the buying experience largely begins online, car buyers still say they find the in-person process important. That’s according to the newly released 2023 Capital One Car Buying Outlook (CBO)—a survey of dealers and car buyers to better understand their perspectives on the car buying process. So, the questions we should be asking are: How can dealers continue to evolve their business to bring car buyers the support they want? And how can the rest of the industry support dealers in doing so?
Car buying and ownership is an experience, and often a years-long relationship. Because of that, what people really need from dealers today is a sense of trust.
Trust, driven mostly by transparency throughout the process, helps dealers as much as it helps car buyers. In the 2023 CBO report, 76% of car buyers said they are more likely to go back to a dealership in the future after a positive experience. That means dealer trust can both attract more customers and significantly increase the lifetime relationship with each one. The same survey also found that car buyers who trust dealers are four times as likely to feel that the car buying process is transparent.