LAS VEGAS – It may take complicated technology to allow consumers to do an entire vehicle purchase transaction online, but the user experience shouldn’t feel convoluted, says Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for Hyundai Motor America.
“If you have better technology and a positive customer experience, that’s the sweet spot,” he says at a J.D. Power media luncheon here.
Hyundai introduced its Shopper Assurance online initiative last year. It is touted as streamlining the purchase process by offering digital tools designed to reduce the time it takes to buy a vehicle.
Among other things, the initiative allows online consumers to review inventory, structure payments, begin the trade-in process, apply for credit and schedule a test drive.
Ultimately, customers still see a dealership salesperson. “It’s not about trying to make a full technology play,” Evans says. “It’s about a better customer-experience play.”
He adds, “It’s also about trying to bring a better salesperson to the mix.” That means eliminating numerous back-and-forth trips the sales consultant makes between the customer and sales manager during price discussions. Customers dislike that ping-pong game.
“They don’t believe it,” says Evans. “If they are seeing transparent pricing on their iPad, they believe it.”
Despite the technology that allows an almost complete vehicle transaction online, “there isn’t a growing number of people doing it,” says Doug Betts, J. D. Power’s senior vice president and general manager-Global Automotive Operations. “It’s tough to herd all the cats needed to do that.”
Still, auto shoppers rely heavily on the Internet, and they are a different breed than their predecessors. “It’s transformation, baby,” Evans says.