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Once shoppers visit dealership, most don't change their minds

June 3, 2016
More often than not, when a consumer first sets out to start the car-shopping process, he or she has an open mind. 
New. Used. All kinds of different makes and models. It’s all fair game at the beginning, and dealers have a chance to influence that shopper. 
But you had better do it before he or she sets foot on a dealership lot.
According to the inaugural Car Buyer Journey study commissioned by AutoTrader and conducted by IHS Automotive, six out of every 10 car buyers are open to various makes and models when they first begin looking for a car.
What’s more, 36 percent of consumers who ended up buying new actually considered new cars and used cars. Likewise, 55 percent of used-car buyers were open to both new and used cars. 
But here’s the rub: Once they step on a lot, it’s probably too late to change their minds. 
According to AutoTrader, 71 percent of consumers said they bought the car they initially planned on purchasing once they visited a store. 
"The study findings reinforce why it is so important for dealers to communicate on experience in addition to product and price," Cox Automotive Media president Jared Rowe said in a news release with the study. 
"Dealers have less than a 30 percent chance of changing a purchase decision once a customer is on the lot. Today, car shopping is all about matchmaking — uniting sellers and buyers online," he said. 
"To create a perfect match, dealers should communicate a differentiator that represents their unique value so that consumers can easily identify dealers that offer the specific car shopping experience they desire."