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More Than Half of Car Shoppers’ First Contact with a Dealership is Still in the Showroom


Every year, the National Independent Auto Dealers Association produces a report on the state of the used car industry. The 2015 2015 NIADA Used Car Industry Report includes 60 pages of NIADA dealer member demographics, member confidence survey data, Industry Benchmarks, and reams of interesting data for people in our business.

One of the key takeaways for us this year was buried on page 23, but it speaks to how automotive shoppers are making their first contact with auto dealers:

“More than half of car buyers do not contact the dealership prior to their first visit,” the report says. “’Walking In’ remains the most common initial point of contact with dealers.”

That piece of information is presented alongside data that shows that car shoppers are spending more than 12 hours researching their purchase – and where they’re going to purchase it from – before visiting a store. Just 12 percent will fill out email contact information. Just two percent will engage in a chat session. Fifty-five percent will walk through the front door.

And it’s not much different for millennials, who we’ve been trained will do everything from order a pizza to making funeral arrangements on their mobile device. Thirteen percent email. Four percent chat. One percent will send a text. Fifty percent stride in the entrance.

What’s that mean for your dealership? Letting potential customers know who you are and how well you treat your customers is key. As we mentioned in last week’s post, for salespeople, the personal brand recognition provided by a DealerRater Profile Page not only tells a car shopper what dealership to do business with, but arms them with useful information on who to seek out when they walk in the showroom.

Your profile page is an important tool for customers arriving at your showroom for the first time. You’re a friendly face. You’ve made a connection with that shopper before they made the decision to drive to the showroom, and they’re seeking you out because they have a level of confidence that no other dealership rating can provide.