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Understanding the Luxury Shopper’s Journey: Positioning Your Dealership to Win

Shoppers walk onto your lot with a variety of motivations for purchasing, and the better you understand their individual needs, the better you’ll be able to provide them with exactly what they’re looking for.  Luxury shoppers are on the lookout for vehicles that meet and exceed their expectations—but don’t be surprised to discover they’re shopping for a lot more than just a car.  They are looking for a dealership that offers them personalized service and excellence in customer care.

Creating a Consumer Experience

When you create an experience for shoppers, you’ll be turning car shopping into an event, rather than simply an opportunity to make a sale.  Luxury vehicle shoppers want to know they’ll be taken care of by your dealership from the very first step in the buying process all the way through maintenance and service updates.  While your higher-end shoppers aren’t cheap, they are still on the lookout for great deals, so don’t forget to mention all the extras and added benefits your dealership offers when they choose to do business with you.

In today’s economy, luxury car shoppers are driving a healthy portion of vehicle sales.  According to cars.com, luxury sales increased by 7% last year and are expected to continue to rise in the near future.  Although these shoppers have many things in common with every other shopper in your dealership, there are a few things that make them stand apart from the crowd, and paying attention to these details will help you gain an edge and earn their trust.  Get to know your upscale shoppers and start to form better relationships by knowing some key information about their shopping habits:

  • Luxury shoppers do a lot of research.  Priding themselves on the knowledge they bring to their purchases, they’ll come armed with as much information as possible.  In fact, before shopping, they will access an average of six sources when researching a new vehicle.  They’ll know whether or not they feel compatible with your dealership before they even set foot on your lot. 
  • They are smartphone-savvy.  81% of individuals who earn $75,000 or more per year own a smartphone, and those individuals are using their phones to research and communicate with businesses.  Luxury shoppers are likely to move between devices, so it’s key to keep messaging consistent and easily-accessed via smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
  • They like options.  Luxury shoppers like to know they are able to select options and customize their vehicles.  According to Edmunds.com, shoppers now feel more able to splurge on vehicles and add-ons because of a stronger economic outlook.  Look for customers who are in the market for higher-priced vehicles and who are interested in adding extras they may have previously skipped.
  • They appreciate quality customer service.  These shoppers walk through the doors of your dealership because they’ve decided you’re a fit for them, but once there, you’ll need to keep showing them all the reasons they should stay.  From great amenities like gourmet coffee to valet service, these shoppers will notice and appreciate your efforts.  When they receive personalized service and attention, they’ll be more likely to stick with you.
  • They have a wide range of tastes.  The luxury market has expanded to include not only traditional luxury brands, but also mid-range brands, makes, and models with plenty of add-ons to boost their price tags and give drivers a luxury experience.  With an expanded range of choices, it’s important to listen carefully and focus on delivering exactly what shoppers are looking for.

Brand manufacturers are updating and enhancing their products to keep up with consumer demand, and this means dealerships everywhere will be able to offer a wider range of vehicle possibilities.  Luxury shoppers aren’t limited to revved-up sports cars or sedans with premium interior packages; instead, they can opt for any number of combinations to make their individual vehicles stand out from the pack.  For example, Jaguar is no longer solely focused on sports cars and sedans, but is now working to roll out a compact crossover to meet the rising consumer need for utility-type vehicles.  Additionally, BMW is leading the way in carbon fiber research, while Mercedes is focused on selling its compact CLA sedan at a more affordable price point.

In short, changes in the marketplace are reflecting shoppers’ affinity for luxury brands, but at the same time, manufacturers recognize the need to provide quality at price points that are realistic for a larger number of consumers.  The net result lands somewhere in the middle, offering more luxurious mid-range options, as well as making traditional luxury brands attainable for more shoppers.

In order to build relationships with luxury shoppers, be sure to create a personal experience—both online and when consumers arrive at your dealership.  They will be doing research about your dealership long before they are ready to buy, so it’s beneficial for you to work toward building a brand that exudes quality and luxury and providing content that educates and offers valuable information.  You’ll be building stronger customer relationships and gaining trust, and that goes a long way with luxury auto shoppers. 

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