According to a study conducted by Autotrader.com, the car buying experience should see some major changes in the next couple years. The study showed that consumers want a more seamless car buying experience. Only 17 out of the over 4,000 people interviewed said they prefer the current car buying experience. They want to spend less time at the dealership with salespeople and more time learning and doing test drives. Just because consumers want to spend less time with salespeople, doesn't mean salespeople will simply disappear from the sales floor. They will still be there to help customers through the process and negotiate when necessary.
Because there is a lot of information online, prospective car buyers are using the dealerships to validate the information they find on the Web. To help accommodate customers with preresearched questions, BMW has been testing some new techniques on the sales floor, including adding a new role to its floors, a product specialist. This person is a noncommissioned employee who is there strictly to help customers learn about the vehicles. BMW saw the need for this because of it complex vehicles and vehicle packages. Dr. Ian Robertson, a member of the board of management at BMW, told Forbes that the car buying experience hasn't changed much in around a century although cars themselves have changed dramatically.
What this means for mystery shoppers
Automotive dealerships who begin to make major changes to the car buying processes will want to know if the changes they've made are actually working. Mystery shoppers may be assigned to some of these dealerships. While there, shoppers should look for indicators that the process is being made more efficient, and the amount of time actually spent inside the dealership is being reduced. Because consumers are asking a lot of questions, it's important to know what to ask and have plenty of questions prepared before going into the dealership.