Buyers visiting dealerships want freedom to look at cars without salespeople present, finds eBay Motors Group study

Three-quarters of buyers visiting dealerships want the freedom to browse unaccompanied by showroom staff.

eBay Motors Group’s Consumer Insight Panel found 40% like to be greeted upon arrival at a showroom but then be left alone to wander around, 20% also want to be unaccompanied but appreciate a member of staff checking on them from time to time to see if they require assistance. While a further 14% prefer to visit the reception desk to outline what they are looking for and then be left alone to look.

However, 12% prefer to be shown around by a salesperson and 5% will book an appointment to ensure the car they are interested in is available and a salesperson is on hand to answer any questions. While 9% will look around on their own and approach a salesperson when they have a question.

However, the research found that the closer customers are to buying, the more interaction they want. When buyers are looking to make a purchase within a month only 17% want to be left alone by sales staff, although this rises to 43% for those without a set buying timeline.

The research also identified the top confidence boosters cited by customers for buying a car from their chosen dealership.

Top of the list was how approachable and friendly the business is, followed by honesty and trustworthiness; being given space to make decisions; professionalism; and good communications across phone and email. These demonstrable soft skills were ahead of good reviews and having a wide range of cars.

“When it comes to buying a car, freedom to look around without a salesperson is a desirable part of the dealership experience for consumers,” said Lucy Tugby, Marketing Director of eBay Motors Group.

“Buyers appreciate being given the time and space to look at cars alone, so the challenge for eager salespeople is to know when to stand back.

“A welcoming hello should be the starting point for all visiting customers, followed by an offer of further assistance should they have any questions. There’s a fine balance to be struck between giving customers space, while not totally ignoring them.

“Sales staff also need to factor in the amount of time customers typically spend online researching their next purchase before visiting showrooms; they want to continue that research by viewing cars in the metal at their leisure.

“Our research also highlights the importance of listening to customers’ needs and refining sales processes and soft skills to be able to provide an environment that gives consumers the confidence to buy,” said Tugby.

The latest eBay Motors Group Consumer Insight Panel was conducted by Insight Advantage, the independent market researcher, with a sample of 2,000 car buyers.