What I’m about to say may come across as a bold statement: the automotive industry is not doing enough to engage female buyers. Women influence roughly 85% of car purchases in the United States, but unfortunately, only about 4% report experiencing excitement around the process. Research done by Cars.com’s experts points to differences in the desires and expectations of female and male customers.
Here are three aspects of the car buying experience to consider revamping at your dealership to enhance the female car buyer’s experience.
There are a few details that weigh heavily on the minds of female customers. It may come as little surprise that women are nearly twice as concerned with the safety of their vehicle than men. Some may even approach the process with researched information in-hand. Salespeople should be well-versed in which vehicles on their lot can speak to a safety-savvy customer. Women who are moms are also more conscious of cargo space as they are interested in how a vehicle can help accommodate their day-to-day activities and children.
Overall, certain vehicles are similarly searched amongst all customers, such as Honda’s midsize options and some of Jeep’s SUVs. Shifting toward the gender-based differences, our research shows that most consumers have a good idea of what brands and vehicles potentially suit their needs, but women are more open to guidance on what car to purchase. While men typically seek out larger and sportier options such as the Ford F-150 and Mustang, some women are more likely to inquire about smaller vehicles within a particular category such as the Honda Civic and the Ford Escape.
Data shows that women are spending significantly less on their purchase than men; on average their purchase is roughly $35,000 less than a man’s, coming in at $15,000. With this knowledge in hand, a salesperson should recognize that a female customer may be less likely to entertain the prospect of a car with top-level trim features. She may be more budget-conscious and contemplate whether the cost justifies the benefit. Features of low priority for female customers include a panoramic roof, premium audio, and smartphone integration.
And it doesn’t stop with just helping women find a vehicle within their budget, but an equally important piece is a non-intimidating financing process and an array of financing options. When it comes to financing, women are far more likely to be concerned with the process and whether they’ll be approved by a lender for their purchase. An inability to match a customer with suitable financing can derail even the best customer service experience, which leads to my next point.
Your Customer Service
Recently, a handful of brands are experiencing a spike in business because of the brand loyalty that is felt particularly by female consumers. Part of this can be credited to women’s heavy reliance on recommendations from friends and family. With word of mouth being so important to the fastest-growing segment of car purchasers, the focus should always be on delivering excellent information and customer service.
But what constitutes excellent customer service when considering the differences between female and male customers? There’s no singular answer to this question, but there are some interesting data-backed facts for your dealership to consider If you think female shoppers are impressed by dealership amenities like a children’s play area, or free coffee to combat, think again. These days, offering free oil changes and car washes translates into savings in a female customer’s mind. These valuable additions resonate in the final moments of making her decision.