Consumers want a hassle free car shopping experience

A recent Google and Forrester study highlighted just how important fast and seamless communication experiences are for users

In the post-pandemic world, consumers have changed. No longer do people want to be sold to, but rather they want to buy something from a business. More importantly, they now expect businesses to deliver bespoke experiences and prioritize customer experience over everything else.

In a recent Digital Dealer webinar, OfferUp discussed the post-pandemic car shopper. Today's Car shoppers:

  • care more about the customer experience

  • are willing to go to a competitor after 3 or fewer bad experiences

  • want to do more with less

  • prefer a mobile shopping experience

  • expect instant gratification when asking a question

OfferUp's Verified Dealer Program is the only marketplace platform that enables auto dealerships to deliver a frictionless car shopping experience chat.

What is Chat?

As a dealer, chat can come in a few verions but generally it is "a communication channel where the consumer has control over the conversation cadence (such as text, third-party messaging, and chat through a mobile app). For example, a consumer might send a message to a business, walk away for a few hours, and return to the conversation right where they left off."

While many dealers see the importance of chat and real-time communications, some dealers are still prioritizing legacy communication strategies including phone calls, emails, or form-fills when interacting with a car shopper. For today's car shoppers, the data shows that they are looking for a different shopping experience.

Chat Survey

According to a new Google and Forrester study, it is now clear now that the post-pandemic car shopper prefers speed, convenience, and simplicity when they want a question answered. Much of this change was driven by pandemic-driven lifestyle changes and consumers' willingness to use or try chat. Since the start of the pandemic, one-third of users do more transactions than previously and over half are now using chat as their primary way to interact with businesses.

According to Google, 68% of respondents are more likely to buy from a business that offers convenience communications.

Consumers prefer real-time communications using chat

OfferUp's internal surveys also back up this claim and show that dealers who can respond in less than 2-minutes are more successful in converting leads into buyers. Today, Verified Dealers who are able to respond to chat communications from car shoppers receive 64% more qualified leads compared to those that don't.

To Chat or Not To Chat

If you are still on the fence on chat then consider this. Phone and email are still popular methods to get in touch with a business, however, that does not tell you the whole story. Consumers who are 44 or younger have a significantly higher chat use compared to other consumers and more than 51% rank it as their preferred method. The primary reasons identified in the survey most focus on being able to get an answer quickly and being able to control the conversation.

Methods used to contact businesses

Moreover, these same consumers indicate that a business's ability to resolve their questions quickly is the most important feature when interacting with you. For businesses and dealerships who aren't able to adopt chat as a communication method, the survey indicated that more than 39% of those businesses see reduced customer loyalty and decreased satisfaction.

What's Next

It's important to recognize that the pandemic has changed car shopping forever. While OfferUp is the only marketplace that gives dealers real-time chat natively, it is also important for dealers to look at their own shopping experience and start making out improvements.

  • It's easy to start small and focus on small updates and slowly you can remove the source of friction from your car shopping experience.

  • Use notifications and your chat history to deliver a better experience.

  • Use messaging from 3rd-party platforms like OfferUp where consumers already are.

If you have questions about chat or your own digital transformation, OfferUp is here to help. Today, OfferUp supports more than 4,200 dealers nationwide and helps dealers engage with hundreds of thousands of car shoppers every month.