Here lies the obligatory first paragraph about how consumers are online and absorbing information now more than ever, yada yada yada. You’ve heard it before. It’s beaten to death in every blog you read. I won’t bore you with it again. We already know consumers seek more answers, but that too has grown not to be good enough. So what more can you give them?
In our retail environment, car dealers (all retailers actually) recognize the need to share a price online. (While some manufacturers simply don’t allow it, those that do, know it needs to be visible, and it needs to be competitive.) However, sharing a MSRP followed by a discount and an “Special Online Price” simply isn’t enough. Consumers aren’t just looking to see the pricing of a vehicle or product. They’re now looking to validate the pricing you’ve shared. Price validation is the game. Just displaying a discount doesn’t suffice. They don’t only seek a sale price, discounted price, or “price promise”. They seek to prove that the price you’ve decided upon is a reasonable, nay, a competitive price.
(So you know, I’ve been preaching about validation selling since 2012. Why must I repeat myself? Why has this not been adopted as both an in-store process, but a technological and digital necessity?!)
The online entities and automotive resource sites that are flourishing right now (CarGurus, TrueCar, vAuto, CarStory) all have one thing in common. They lend data and market insights into the pricing and alert the shopper as to the quality of the deal.
- CarGurus tells when a vehicle isn’t priced as ideally as it should be, or when it is.
- TrueCar gives them the pricing based on their market that they should strive for, as well as the price certificates that local dealers are guaranteeing.
- vAuto‘s Real Deal offers consumer-facing live market reporting of pricing to help prove the price.
- CarStory analyzes local market data and displays when each used vehicle is a Fair, Good, or Great Deal on the dealer’s very own website (with their free CarStory Market Reports, as well as their own used car site), yet will never show a negative on a vehicle.
These are digital elements that help build trust with shoppers. They seek to validate the pricing you’re sharing, as customers have no other fundamental way to know if the price online is a steal, a deal, or a wheel of misfortune. Embrace these assets that lend credence to your pricing, and educate customers with a level of price expectations. If price validation is what shoppers are searching for, it is what you should be serving up to them. Transparency is no longer enough. It’s not enough to show the price. We must now prove the value of the deal.
[blockquote name=”Joe Webb” organization=”@zonewebb”]Transparency is no longer enough. It’s not enough to show the price. We must now prove the value of the deal.[/blockquote]