Your vehicle details page (VDP) is not about your vehicle. Your VDP exists to help car shoppers make an informed purchase decision on your lot. Yes, a VDP needs to share useful details about your vehicles, but VDPs need to evolve to remain relevant. For instance, 97 percent of car shoppers would prefer to select a salesperson before visiting a dealership – so why not provide the ability to do so right on your VDP? That’s exactly what Cars.com is doing as we add profiles of salespeople to the Cars.com VDP with our Salesperson Connect feature.
As our Chief Revenue Officer John Clavadetscher discussed in a recent blog post, we understand that consumers’ car shopping journeys have become more transparent. As John pointed out, auto shoppers are comparing their experience with dealers to non-automotive brands such as Airbnb, Lyft, and Zillow.com, where consumers receive the kind of contextual information they need about product, price, place, and person (such as real estate agents, your Lyft driver, or your Airbnb host). John refers to product, price, place, and person as the new four Ps of automotive marketing. Those elements of the marketing mix have shaped the way Cars.com is changing the experience we provide shoppers as they make the increasingly complicated decision of buying a car.
In recent weeks, Cars.com has been making car shopping more transparent and personal by adding profiles of salespeople on the Cars.com VDP and the ability for shoppers to select salespeople based on those profiles. Shoppers can choose salespeople based on factors such as their customer ratings, reviews, and years of experience through the new Salesperson Connect features on the VDP.
We’re excited about this new feature given the critical role that relationship building with salespeople plays in the purchase journey. Car shoppers buy vehicles. But they form relationships with salespeople, which creates long-term loyalty. We are improving our VDP to create a more personalized car shopping experience for the consumer and a more valuable source of leads for dealers.
This enhancement to the VDP makes Cars.com the only third-party connecting consumers directly to individual salespeople at the dealership before a consumer sets foot on a lot. It also provides several benefits to dealers:
- Connects salespeople with shoppers who are motivated to buy and want help doing so.
- Rewards rock-star salespeople and the most effective dealerships by highlighting their ratings.
- Humanizes your dealership brand by helping shoppers see the faces and backgrounds of the people who create the enduring relationships with shoppers.
- Makes your dealership more responsive by providing what shoppers want: transparency about their vehicles and context about all the factors influencing their decision, especially the salespeople they want to select ahead of time.
The VDPs build upon the groundwork of DealerRater, the world’s leading car dealer review website and a Cars.com company. In January 2017, DealerRater launched DealerRater Connections, a tool that connects consumers with dealer salespeople through dealer reviews. The Cars.com VDP uses salesperson profiles from DealerRater Connections.
Responses to our pilot roll-outs have been incredibly encouraging. Dealers know already that shoppers want to do their own research on their own terms before visiting a lot. More informed shoppers make better decisions, which makes for better-quality leads that convert to relationships beyond the initial sale. And now, VDPs are delivering on their promise through Salesperson Connect. Contact us to learn more!
 Survey of 6,413 recent car shoppers on DealerRater.com, March 2016.