First impressions in showroom, online the keys to women shoppers

Women shop for cars where they feel comfortable.

That comfort level begins with the greetings they receive and the way they are treated afterward.

And the sales adviser holds the key to that encounter, according to the 2019 Women’s Car Buying Report from a survey of almost 5,400 women shoppers by

032619 IL First impressions in showroom, online the keys to women shoppers


All of this is significant for dealerships because women now account for 45 percent of new-car purchases – about 7.75 million in 2018 based on NADA’s report of total U.S. sales of 17.2 million.

(The Women’s Choice Award website suggests women currently represent 52 percent of buyers.)

“Their [sales] consultant is the No. 1 influencer at a dealer,” said the’s report.

“Price is still important, but not a differentiator, since women know they can find a car elsewhere within a narrow price margin.” In fact, that was true for all seven top brands – Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota – represented in the buyers’ survey.

Impressions matter

“It is the consultant’s attitude and impression that makes all the difference. The initial contact and the creation of trust is critical to establishing credibility and making an outstanding first impression.” Dealer reputation is the second-most-important reason for buyers of four brands.

“While dealership culture has seen a shift, more must be done to [attract] and retain women buyers and for dealers to meet their unique expectations and needs,” said Anne Fleming, president and car buying advocate for

A welcoming atmosphere

“Creating an atmosphere where the buyer feels welcome, understood, and has the experience of being in control of their buying experience are the ingredients to a successful sale.”

So what’s a savvy dealer to do to adapt to the changing marketplace?

“Dealers need to re-examine the one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and better tailor to an every-growing base of [women] customers,” said the report. “Valuing these buyers – through effective and creative marketing strategies – will increase dealers’ overall sales.”

“Training and coaching the frontline team to adopt attitudes and greetings that women consider trustworthy, engaging and respectful is paramount.”

First impression online

But creating a good first impression online also is important, the report said.

The report points out that dealership websites are either the first or second destination for six of seven of the manufacturers included in the website’s survey. Nationally, however, women shoppers graded dealership websites a “C” in being helpful and informative. “Collectively, OEMs, Web providers and dealers have work to do to bridge the gap to add value.”

“Most dealer websites continue to be pictorially product-centric,” said the report. “[But] consumers engage more fully when they feel welcomed by lifestyle images from various cultures, life stages and demographics. Informative content about car buying and the ownership experience draws viewers in and establishes credibility.”

Combined, these firsts leave powerful impressions on the consumer experience. Indeed, “Research shows the first engagement is the only one that matters – there are no second chances.”

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