Gen Z assumptions abound. Born in 1997-2012, this group was seen as in need of instant gratification, from seamless online shopping experiences to real-time social media engagement. However, according to a recent study by CDK Global, this assumption is not necessarily true when it comes to buying a car.
CDK surveyed more than 1,100 buyers of all ages who have recently purchased a vehicle about the car buying experience. It turns out that Gen Z respondents spent more time weighing decisions than any other generation. Unfortunately, they also found the car buying experience more frustrating than any other group and were the least likely to recommend a dealership to others.
Dealers cannot afford to ignore this information. Generation Z’s purchasing power is on the rise. According to a recent Bloomberg report, young students and professionals in this group have a disposable income of $360 billion. It’s a good idea to figure out how to woo this group, because the key to longevity is gaining multiple generations.
This is especially important in today’s retail environment, when dealerships are selling whatever they can get their hands on and consumer loyalty is plummeting as vehicle availability reigns supreme. in master. The old notion of “just bringing them into the store and into a test drive” won’t win today when there’s a limited inventory selection to offer in-stock options.
A salesperson who can build relationships with Gen Z consumers by nurturing one-to-one relationships based on exceptional service can retain this cohort once the inventory shortage is resolved.
Here are four tactics to help your dealership create an experience that will appeal to Gen Z shoppers.
1. Answer each question. Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said they wanted time to understand their options, both online and with a knowledgeable dealer representative. If your sales team and agents at your business development center are pushing for the appointment before answering all the questions, you’re going to miss the boat with those buyers. A hard sell approach early on also indicates that you are likely to be difficult to deal with in the store. Instead, coach employees to be knowledgeable about both your vehicles and your buying process so they can answer detailed questions through the buyer’s preferred channel. Next, audit your website. Are your vehicle pages detailed? Do you offer presentation videos? Are digital retail tools easy to find and navigate? Do you explain taxes and fees? The more information you can provide, the better.
2. Audit your process from digital to store. Gen Z found it harder to buy a car online than any other generation, according to the survey. For 56% of respondents, this was their first vehicle purchase, and the complexity of the process probably took them by surprise. Buying a car is not like buying a smartphone. There are seemingly endless options, from accessories and service packages to financing and insurance. Your dealership should make buying easy, and one of the best ways to do that is with a seamless online and in-store process. Your digital retail tools should be integrated with your CRM so that all the work a customer does online is routed to your store and into the hands of your salespeople. A next step is to ensure that the people working on the in-store transaction are using the same desktop calculation that is used on your website. A simple audit of the payment calculation on your digital retail tool and your in-store desktop tool should show the same payment and transaction details. This shows the client that the tools are accurate and reliable, but it also opens up the possibility of explaining each step as you go through the process together.
3. Ask about fees and payments. A big source of frustration for 52% of Gen Z respondents was extra and unexpected fees. There are several ways to solve this problem. First, you can create a comprehensive list of fees that you post on your website and also provide to salespeople and BDC agents so they can let customers know what to expect. Second, compare calculators on marketplace sites so your eyes are wide open to what customers are seeing. These calculators are generic and obviously do not include dealer specific fees or even specific tax information. The payout estimates they provide could be off by hundreds of dollars. Be prepared to explain this reality to potential customers and insist that your dealership’s website will give the most accurate payment. It’s also an effective way to move them from a marketplace site to your site so it’s your experience without the outside noise.