Fifteen years ago today, a polarizing experience at a dealership birthed a website, born with the audacious hope that it will someday help to improve the automotive retail experience – for dealers and consumers alike. The hard work and perseverance of Chip Grueter, the founder of DealerRater, established the website as a true, original pioneer of the online voice of the consumer. He helped launch a revolution in the way car shoppers connect with auto dealerships through the power of customer reviews and ratings.
Over the past 15 years, DealerRater has grown to be a trusted resource for car shoppers, bringing critical transparency to the marketplace. We are so proud that as of this month, we now house four million customer reviews of automotive dealerships. Our growth reflects a broader change in the retailing industry in which shoppers have empowered themselves through customer reviews on sites such as Amazon, Best Buy and others. On DealerRater, shoppers learn about the complete auto dealership experience, such as the vehicle itself, service and repair quality, and ratings of individual salespeople. And all our reviews are carefully screened for authenticity – we post only real reviews written by real customers.
As DealerRater continues to evolve, I’m particularly excited about how increasingly important salesperson reviews are. As I have noted on our blog, people are now one of the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ (product, price, place, and person). Ninety-seven percent of auto buyers prefer to connect directly with a salesperson before arriving on a dealership’s lot[i]. Put simply, the path to purchase ends with a person working with another person. DealerRater’s owner, Cars.com, recently underscored this reality by rolling out an enhanced vehicle detail page (VDP) that features salespeople profiles drawn from the DealerRater network.
We understand the importance of people. As noted in the following infographic of DealerRater milestones, in 2014 we launched our Certified Employee program, which helps identify which dealership employees are dedicated to providing a consistently excellent experience for their customers. I encourage you to check out the infographic for many more milestones in our growth. And as I reflect upon these many exciting milestones, I’m humbled and grateful for the millions of consumers, thousands of dealership partners, and inspiring team here at DealerRater team that has made them possible.
Thank you. Here’s to many more years of growth and success!
[i] Survey of 6,413 recent car buyers on DealerRater.com, March 2016