The following is an internal memo from our co-worker Nate Jones, who wanted to document for our Product Team what it was like to use Online Shopper™ as an objective customer. We thought it was insightful for dealers too, so we published it here.
– Jason Stum, Director of Strategy
Recently, my wife and I were in the market for a new car. We had grown tired of our car’s inability to handle the wintry Chicago weather and had decided that we wanted to replace it with a new Honda Pilot. We knew the exact color and trim we wanted, we knew that we would finance it, and we knew that we wanted to buy it from our local Honda Dealer.
As a returning customer, I was confident that my local Honda Dealer would give me a fair deal, but I also knew myself and knew I would need some mental space and time to wrap my head around the monthly payments the salesperson would inevitably point to on the monitor. So I did some cross-shopping and got the best internet prices from some of their competitors.
But I also cheated….
The Inside Scoop Everyone Should Have
Well, kinda, but not really. It just felt like cheating because this particular Honda dealer is an Online Shopper™ client. Their website has been upgraded with the latest edition of our digital retailing solution, so I was able to build a deal for the exact Honda Pilot I wanted to buy at my own pace and on my own terms.
As I configured my ideal financing options within Online Shopper™, I zero’d in on the interest rate, down payment, trade-in estimate, and of course, the estimated monthly payment. With all of the details laid out in front of me, there was no question of what I should expect at the dealership. You can do all the research you want across a million different sites to determine what you think a fair price is, but seeing an actual estimated payment based on your personalized variables sets a real expectation that you’re on the same page with your dealer.
While in years past I may have gone to dealerships alone with my mean mug, ready to make my case based on all this disconnected internet evidence in a back-and-forth negotiation — this time I was comfortable to bring my whole family along for the exciting experience of driving home a brand-new car, because I was confident this visit was simply a check-out of my online cart I already set-up.
Bridging The Online To In-store Shopping Experience
The whole family arrived, and everything went smoothly. As expected, our salesperson was truthful & friendly. When the moment came to review the numbers, almost everything matched up to what Online Shopper™ had originally provided just a few days earlier! The only difference was that the dealer was actually offering more money for our trade than the value that Online Shopper™ had provided. So in the end our monthly payment was just a few bucks different than what we thought it would be.
As I reflect upon the shopping experience from beginning to end, I can definitely say that Online Shopper™ gave me the space and time I needed to acclimate myself to the price and facts. Online Shopper™ helped remove any anxiety and stress that I’d normally associate with buying a car — which in turn led to a more enjoyable shopping experience for everyone.
Not Just About Saving Time
What I discovered from this adventure was that Online Shopper’s™ superpower proved to be most useful by empowering me, the consumer, to trust my local Honda dealership. And while I knew that using Online Shopper™ was saving me time, I didn’t realize that it was also saving my sanity. In years past I may have procrastinated buying a car to avoid the stress and conflict of negotiating, but this time I was just pumped to get a new car.
Customers can cross-shop all they want, but often times confidence and trust is eroded once they visit a dealership and the pricing information they’re given in the dealership doesn’t match what they found on other dealer websites or third party resources. Online Shopper™ emphasized the power of transparency and was very generous with information. It eliminated any crisis of confidence I might have had with the car-buying process and empowered me with knowledge. After using Online Shopper™, I was able to shop where I wanted, knowing that where I felt the most comfortable was the best place for me to buy.
Overall, Online Shopper™ not only saved me time, money, and my sanity — but it truly made my car shopping experience exponentially better.
Highly recommend. 10/10. Would buy again.