As part of our pledge to help our dealer partners get past the current restrictive business conditions and come out stronger on the other end, we are continuing to analyze consumer behaviour on the marketplace and share that data with you, while providing guidance and tools to meet consumer expectations. Over a two-week period, in late April and early May, we surveyed over 500 AutoTrader.ca shoppers to identify factors that could incentivize shopping or purchasing a vehicle now or in the near future.
Overall, responses can be categorized into three buckets: (i) Financial Incentives, (ii) Hygienic Actions, and, (iii) Alternative Shopping Methods, each of which can be leveraged as a baseline to help you make strategic adjustments to your dealership’s promotional and operational efforts going forward.
The research results reveal that consumers find financial-based incentives as the most significant factor in shopping for or purchasing a vehicle. The most popular purchase incentive amongst consumers was a 0% financing offer. 74% of respondents stated that no cost financing is most preferable. In close relation, 73% said they are interested in no charge maintenance packages. The third ranked result is also finance based, where 64% of consumers on AutoTrader.ca demonstrate interest in alternative payment options or plans.
Another strong contender in this study is payment forgiveness and deferrals. 55% of respondents would feel more comfortable purchasing a vehicle through a dealership that offered payment forgiveness, as protection, in case of job loss. Fifty-one per-cent also shared that they would be on the lookout for dealers that offer payment deferrals or waivers. Now is a better time than ever before to consider any flexibility you could offer your potential customers should they need assistance during these difficult times.
With such a high response rate for this category, it would be very beneficial for your dealership to consider offering financial incentives, or, to further promote the ones you have available today. This could be the deciding factor that sets your dealership apart in the eyes of a consumer, and, furthermore, drive sales with shoppers who are weary about their next vehicle purchase due to concerns with personal finances.
Outside of financial incentives, dealership and inventory cleanliness and hygiene scored second highest with respondents. 58% of the consumers polled expressed their desire to have dealerships inform them of their cleaning and hygiene policies.
We recommend adding this information to each of your marketplace and dealership website inventory listings, to ensure consumers are comfortable and feel safe with visiting your dealership and potentially taking the car they’re most interested in on a test drive. Look for other avenues to socialize your commitment to cleanliness and sanitary conditions, including banners or call-outs on your dealership website, posts to social media profiles, dealership signage, as a means to build trust and reassurance with serious shoppers.
Alternative Shopping Methods
Digging deeper into the results of this study, it became even more evident that consumers are considering alternative shopping methods. Consumers surveyed said that they would be more likely to shop with a dealership if they offered:
– Online appointments with a salesperson: 54%
– Home delivery of purchased vehicles: 50%
– Bringing a vehicle to their home to test drive: 47%
– The ability to purchase the vehicle online: 46%
The Remote Selling Suite, a complimentary toolkit available on the AutoTrader.ca marketplace, ticks off a lot of these boxes to further help you adapt to the transformation behind car shopping behavior and online/offline consumer preferences. Click here for full details of the Remote Selling Suite and to have these must-have features enabled on your AutoTrader.ca inventory listings today!
We will continue to share more insightful industry findings with you, over the next few weeks and months, to help you make strategic business decisions and meet the needs of current car buyers.