Do shoppers need a car now?
Like, right now?
Sure, people WANT cars now; but are they able to buy a car now? Buying a car these days can be quite an investment. Perhaps more so than usual. Especially a new car. According to Kelly Blue Book:
"The average new car in America sold for $48,763 in February (2023)..." The good news is that is a "decline of 1.4% from January (2023)..." While not an incredible drop, it's at least a good sign of softening prices after pandemic woes and shortages drove prices up to unprecedented heights.
Average used car prices are still a bit up, too, with this Kelly Blue Book article stating:
"...The average used vehicle carried a list price of $26,510...", referring to the month of January of 2023.
Vehicle Prices are High, Because Supply is Low
Not to mention, lower-priced vehicles are scarcer as people race to the bottom to be able to afford an automobile, with the previously sourced Kelly Blue Book article stating the following:
"As with new cars, the lower the price, the tighter the inventory. Days’ supply for vehicles priced under $10,000 was 35. Day’s supply for vehicles priced between $10,000 and $15,000 was 42; between $15,000 and $20,000 was 46; and $20,000 to $35,000 around 50. Used vehicles with listing prices above $35,000 had the highest days’ supply at 53.
Toyota had the lowest days’ supply of used vehicles at 39. Acura, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and Lexus also had days’ supply below 45."
Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Car?
Well, that depends. For some customers, there is no “good time” to buy a car if the need for one is urgent and sudden. The “best time” to buy a car for some people is sooner than they expect to.
However, there may be more leisurely shoppers who can give or take a new vehicle, so it could benefit you to know how to frame the customer experience to best encourage them to buy a car now, rather than later.. The market is hot in nearly every sector, and at the time of writing this article, the U.S. inflation rate is sitting at about 6%. This is a pretty marked improvement from February of 2022's 7.871% inflation rate but comparatively is still pretty rough considering that inflation in February 2021 was 1.676%.
Some customers are fairly inelastic on price, however, and will buy regardless of current costs (if they can swing it) In this case, the best customer experience wins!
3 Ways to Encourage Customers to Buy a Car Now
Optimize your digital retailing.
Customers love convenience, and digital is king in this busy, post-pandemic age. A great digital retailing tool can take some of the spice out of going into a dealership and the headache out of some of the processes. According to the 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study by Cox Automotive:
“Nearly all auto dealers – 87% – indicate that digital retailing solutions have positively impacted at least one area of their business, reducing time spent, improving efficiency, and also benefitting sales, profits, and relationships with customers.”
That being said, consider equipping your digital retailing and online financing processes with live advocates who can reassure and guide them through what many consider to still be a confusing and stressful experience. To be fair, buying a car can feel overwhelming even for the most prepared customer, so having someone that can assure them of their choices and progress will be a huge help!
Bring them the right offers at the right time.
A car sale is sometimes just a good offer away. But, that offer has to be visible and needs to capture the customer at just the right time.
Equipping your website with tailored offers could be the key to catching flighty website hoppers. With our behavioral offer tool, ActivTarget, we float the offers that make the most sense for you to customers based on their browsing behavior on your dealership website.
It can mean the difference between clicking around and bouncing or seeing what is possible with the right offer!
Service a car now.
Continue to provide exceptional customer service in your repair bays! While you do so, see about getting with the service department on gently floating the idea of what they might be able to get for their trade. Some customers can afford to make the snap decision to get into something different, or nicer, if they are so inclined.
Not to mention, but data shows that customers who get service at a specific dealership are likely to buy from that dealership in the future.
According to SnapCell:
“…NADA data appears to back this up further. They found that on average, 76% of car buyers bought their next vehicle from the dealership that performed their regular maintenance.”
ActivEngage Helps Dealers Converse with Consumers that Want to Buy a Car Now!
Some people need a car now!
And when that happens, ActivEngage is there, with real people, to foster communication that builds trust and inspires action.
We have a wide array of communication tools and engagement services that level up your online customer experience and ensure every opportunity on your dealership website is accounted for. We provide: