How the Death of Dealerships Has Changed the Car-Buying Model

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It’s no secret that car dealerships are struggling in Ireland. The Times reports a drop of 10% over the last year, noting the Society of the Irish Motor Industry attributes the slump to Brexit. Other research from CDK Global points to additional challenges, such as women feeling uncomfortable and intimidated by the traditional car-buying model, while some also note that showrooms being on the outskirts of towns doesn’t exactly make dealerships approachable. Undoubtedly, it’s likely a mixture of all these things contributing to the decline in sales, but auto sellers aren’t taking this one lying down. They’re changing their sales model entirely.

Dealerships are Moving to the City

Whilst the shift is merely emerging in Ireland, there’s a global trend toward making shops more accessible. Moving into the city centre is an obvious choice for the failing industry, as it enables dealers to capitalise on foot traffic and appear more approachable to shoppers. However, many shops have taken it one step farther, and have moved into malls. Dealerships in the US have used the pop up shop model in malls for quite some time, often using their stalls or kiosks to display the latest model and generate interest. In London, SEAT recently joined Tesla, HR Owen, and DS at the Westfield shopping centre. While many locations are permanent, auto dealers say they’re still testing out various models. For example, “The Sound of Porsche” ran for a three-week period in New York. The experiential marketing campaign ran as a partnership with Bose, giving passers by an enticing opportunity to interact with both brands in a non-sales way.

They’re Giving Up Pushy Sales Tactics

The CDK Global research analysed words used by men and women as they discussed their car-buying experiences. Not surprisingly, words like stressed, overwhelmed, taken advantage and panic were amongst those most-used by women who had a poor experience. Dealerships have realised they’ve earned a bad reputation through pushy sales tactics and have decided to do away with sales quotas altogether. “We know most people don’t come here to buy a new car,” says SEAT’s UK managing director Richard Harrison regarding their Westfield mall location, “but when you speak to them it’s surprising how many don’t think they’re in a position to do it.” He says that many people pop in by chance and don’t start thinking about making a purchase until they realise how easy it can be to finance a new vehicle. Even still, it has become a no-pressure environment. “From the point of view of a salesperson, the biggest difference between this and a dealership is you see a lot more people,” he explained. “That means you have a lot of very different conversations and can easily end up chatting about Barcelona instead of the cars.”


They’re Giving Up Pushy Sales Tactics

The CDK Global research analysed words used by men and women as they discussed their car-buying experiences. Not surprisingly, words like stressed, overwhelmed, taken advantage and panic were amongst those most-used by women who had a poor experience. Dealerships have realised they’ve earned a bad reputation through pushy sales tactics and have decided to do away with sales quotas altogether. “We know most people don’t come here to buy a new car,” says SEAT’s UK managing director Richard Harrison regarding their Westfield mall location, “but when you speak to them it’s surprising how many don’t think they’re in a position to do it.” He says that many people pop in by chance and don’t start thinking about making a purchase until they realise how easy it can be to finance a new vehicle. Even still, it has become a no-pressure environment. “From the point of view of a salesperson, the biggest difference between this and a dealership is you see a lot more people,” he explained. “That means you have a lot of very different conversations and can easily end up chatting about Barcelona instead of the cars.”


What Will the Future of Automotive Sales Hold?

Right now, brands are focused on making themselves appear more available and helpful. They’re actively positioning themselves in spaces consumers already shop, ditching their commissions, and concentrating on developing real relationships. Through concepts like pop up shops, mall locations, service stations at malls, unaccompanied test drive opportunities, negotiation-free pricing, and computer-calculated trade-ins, automotive companies have done a great deal of rebranding. As far as what the future holds, Harrison says it best: “The truth is, we’re still experimenting about how to modify the proposition from a dealership, where customers walk in already thinking about buying a car,” he explains. “There are a lot of people guessing what the future will be, but by trying out things like this we can help to shape it.”


Pop Up with Popertee

Follow in the footsteps of Volvo who worked with us on two amazing pop-ups in Dundrum and Grafton St. and Citroen who popped-up in Dundrum. To get started, find your ideal location by browsing our listings. If you have a venue you think will be helpful to someone else, you can also list it with us absolutely free.

Created on date: 08/10/2018