The Millennial generation is made up of people born between 1980 and 2000 and is one of the largest generations in history. As they are moving into prime spending years, they are likely to alter the economy and, in doing so, will force companies to re-shape how they do business. Millennials are the first generation of “digital natives” whose appreciation and knowledge of technology shapes how they shop. With unlimited product information, online reviews, pricing comparisons and more at their fingertips, marketing and retail have forever been changed.
Until now, trends have shown that Millennials were hesitant to purchase a vehicle due to many factors, such as student loan debt, low income, the availability of ride-sharing apps like Uber and more. However, that trend is now changing. According to Automotive News, “Millennials make up the fastest growing segment among vehicle buyers and likely will represent about 40 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market by 2020.” What does this trend mean for your dealership? How can you market and sell to the Millennial generation?
Use Mobile Technology
The use of mobile technology during the sales and F&I process is key to selling to Millennial car buyers. Millennials want maximum convenience at the lowest price possible. They will have thoroughly researched the car they want to look at, your inventory and your customer reviews — all before stepping foot inside your dealership. An IBM study showed that 35 percent of Millennials — a higher percentage than any other generation — listed “ease of doing business” as their top priority.
Be prepared to listen to their needs and wants when your Millennial buyers first walk through the door. If they already know which vehicle they want to look at, use a mobile device to look up the exact inventory they want, on the spot, and take them directly to it. If they are not sure what car they want, ask them what their needs are and use that information to match them to a vehicle right away. Your DMS should enable you to access your inventory, scan the buyer’s driver’s license and pull up the VIN without ever leaving the buyer’s side. Once you are on a test drive, begin discussing different financing options right away by using collaboration tools to communicate with the F&I team and get the process rolling without wasting any time. The use of mobile technology will optimize the sales experience for your customers and give the Millennial customer what they expect.
According to Forbes, Millennial buyers’ trust is earned through product quality, good customer experiences and the brand’s social awareness and support. Train your sales staff to listen to Millennial buyers’ needs and wants, then offer solid advice instead of leading with a heavy sales pitch. Don’t try to dupe the Millennial buyer with claims to be the best and cheapest as they’ve already done their research and can easily find out the truth. Making grand claims will make them turn away while being transparent will help you earn their trust. By turning into a helpful resource, you will gain their attention and loyalty.
Optimize Your Website and Social Media
Car buyers spend 59 percent of their time in the buying process online researching vehicle prices, finding actual vehicles listed for sale and locating a dealer with the inventory they are looking for. This means that your dealership’s Website should be well-designed, optimized for a mobile device and armed with your complete inventory.
It may also mean you should spend more marketing dollars on social media. A Deloitte report found that 47 percent of Millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media and 32 percent of automotive buyers use social media during their shopping journey. Be sure to have a company page that you post to regularly on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. If possible, it is best to have a dedicated employee managing your social media accounts since it can be a full-time job. Interacting with your followers by quickly answering questions and responding to online reviews is also important.
Dealerships that take the time to understand Millennials’ motives and create an experience that meets their needs will ultimately see the results on their bottom line as this large generation continues to spend more money. Dealers should also invest in the right technology to help them meet these needs and capitalize on the huge opportunity this generation holds with a modern, flexible and easy-to-use DMS.