4 Dealership Customer Buying Trends to Look Out for in 2024


There are palpable changes taking place in the world of car purchasing. In 2024, auto dealerships find themselves at the intersection of digital transformations, sustainability initiatives, and evolving customer expectations. Owners and managers will need to adapt to these automotive trends to cater to a new breed of car buyers and thrive in this dynamic marketplace.

1. Peer Reviews and Social Proof

Gone are the days of relying solely on a salesperson's pitch to make purchasing decisions at dealerships. This approach often leads to skepticism due to perceived biases and lack of transparency. It also creates bottlenecks in the buying process as customers seek more trustworthy sources of information.

Many of today's car buyers are, highly informed because they conduct extensive research online before visiting a dealership. Online reviews and social media recommendations are integral in influencing both dealership selection and purchasing decisions.

A positive online reputation is vital because it builds trust with potential customers. As such, car dealerships should actively solicit customer reviews and promptly address negative feedback. They must also leverage social media platforms to showcase their inventory and engage with potential buyers to build trust.

2. Sustainability and Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Environmental consciousness is a growing concern for consumers, driving a surge in interest in eco-friendly vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars are gaining traction. They produce zero tailpipe emissions, which greatly reduces a company's overall environmental impact, especially when it invests in renewable energy sources to power its charging stations. Dealerships that want to incorporate these types of vehicles should prepare accordingly.

This means providing EV infrastructure, such as charging stations on their lots and offering knowledgeable salespeople trained to address EV-specific questions. Auto dealerships should also incentivize sustainable choices by promoting government rebates and emphasizing the long-term cost savings associated with EVs.

3. Omnichannel Experience

The modern car buyer expects a seamless omnichannel experience that effortlessly transitions them between online and offline channels throughout their buying journey. With digital tools like virtual tours, shoppers can browse inventories in detail from the comfort of their homes. They can also schedule test drives online and receive consistent, helpful service from the dealership website to the showroom floor.

Most manufacturers have installed online configurators on their websites to offer numerous products/services with several options and variations. Car buyers can use these interactive platforms to select specific features or packages and visually build their ideal vehicle before ever stepping foot in a dealership.

However, the physical dealership experience remains crucial for finalizing the purchase. The key is integrating these online tools with the in-person experience. For instance, a buyer who configures their dream car online can schedule a test drive at the dealership, where the exact vehicle is already waiting for them. Dealerships that successfully merge these channels provide customers with a cohesive and satisfying buying experience that ultimately boosts customer loyalty and retention.

4. Personalization and Customization

Customers today want a personalized buying experience. They expect dealerships to understand their individual preferences. Dealerships can leverage Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to analyze a wealth of data. Information may include past purchases, service history, online browsing behavior, even social media interactions, and much more.

By analyzing amassed data, dealerships can identify buying patterns and preferences to offer targeted vehicle recommendations, financing options, and additional services that align with each customer's needs. The success of such a personalization strategy can be measured by Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) scores. They track buyer sentiment toward the dealership's ability to understand and fulfill their expectations.

The 2024 car buyer is tech-savvy, environmentally conscious, and expects a bespoke buying journey. Dealerships that adopt online tools, prioritize sustainability, and cater to individual preferences remain relevant in this evolving landscape and build lasting customer relationships.

Vanguard Dealer Services provides cutting-edge technology solutions and marketing expertise to help dealerships connect with customers, customize the purchasing experience, and drive sales. Contact Us today for more information.


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