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Friday, May 21, 2010

Dealership experience a critical link in the auto buying equation

For years, manufacturers have tried to differentiate vehicles, financing plans and incentive programs. But when innovation happens, it doesn’t take long for the rest of the industry to follow suit (i.e, “Keep America Rolling” after 9/11, various “Employee Discount for Everyone” gimmicks, and so on).

Well, a recent study but Foresight Research suggests that the dealership experience—at the local level—can be an important distinction in the process of buying a car.

Implications: At our house, the purchase (or shopping) experience has long influenced a final decision about the vehicles we buy… and has certainly influenced whether we return to a dealership after buying one vehicle. Turns out we’re not alone.

This is good news for anyone who competes in a “flattened” industry: When products and prices sometimes offer little help in the way of differentiation, you can still rely on the purchase experience—the quality engagement your company has with its customers—to help distinguish your company, products and services.

Mike Anderson

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