There’s something to be said about a real, tangible, intimate experience with a product, in an age where you can buy virtually anything online. From clothes to gadgets and even food, we put our trust in both products and service without actually seeing what we’re buying first-hand. And while shopping online can be efficient, there are just some things you need to experience first-hand before you put your money behind them.
Cars, for one, are the kind of thing you need to experience before you make an investment. And who doesn’t love a good day at a dealership, strolling the lot, dodging salespeople, making a run for it when things get too hot? Obviously if we could, we’d buy cars online and completely bypass the sales process. But an automobile is too much of a big-ticket item to take chances with.
Unfortunately, dealerships haven’t realized that brands that make their customers feel appreciated and go the extra mile to make them happy and comfortable, are the ones that earn trust. They haven’t learned to tune in to their customers’ behaviors and day-to-day lifestyles so that they are more likely to reach them in an effective way and truly resonate with them.
Until now. Brands like Chrysler have done a nice job of fusing our human need for intimacy and physical presence with our evolution to technology-based communication, to make car buying a more natural, friendly experience. They have essentially taken the test drive out of the stressful dealership environment and brought it offsite to malls and concerts. Lincoln is also retooling its sales process, albeit on a more upscale level, emulating the customer experience at a luxury hotel rather than a dealership.
Seems like Chrysler and Lincoln are on the right track – it will be interesting to see what their success rate will be, and which other brands will follow suit.