The motor retail industry still needs to combat consumer perception of high pressure salespeople and deal negotiations.
According to research by Auto Trader into the car purchase journey of 1,000 car buyers, deal negotiations and salesperson pressure were the two principal pain points for those who buy from a dealer.
However, it also confirmed that consumers’ perceptions of the industry are often worse than reality. While 43% said they feared salesperson pressure and 33% worried about negotiation on areas like pricing, finance and part-exchange in advance of the visit, the showroom experience itself was often less painful.
Only 21% said salesperson pressure had actually been a problem, while 17% said they had not enjoyed negotiating with showroom staff.
One area where perception and reality were closely matched concerns finding the right dealer. 23% of respondents said they had found this hard, compared with 22% who worried about this in advance of their research.
The findings suggest retailers could do more online to build trust and drive traffic to their forecourts, said Auto Trader, which specialises in online classified advertising and web optimisation.
“There are clearly things that could be done to smooth the journey for buyers both on and offline,” said Nick King, Auto Trader’s director of insight.
“We know for example that part exchange negotiation is often the breaking point in a deal. We also know that more could be done online to inform buyers about competitive finance deals before they get to a showroom, perhaps pre-empting what might be seen as pushiness in the showroom. Making things more transparent online could help smooth pain points in the journey, leading to more business and happier customers.”
Auto Trader is the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace for buying and selling new and used vehicles. As part of the research, respondents were asked to select any number of responses from a wish list of things that they felt might improve the buying experience.
The top five were:
Freedom to browse without pressure – 32%
Better information on the real cost of cars – 32%
One-stop shop for everything online - 31%
Clearer information on car prices - 29%
Better information on the best car deals and finance – 28%