Women Buy 68% of New Vehicles – How is Your Dealership Marketing to Women?
Women are one of the fastest growing groups of auto consumers. While marketing to both men and women is key, dealerships who look for new ways to attract and target female consumers can gain a big advantage.
Here is a look at some interesting statistics compiled by Auto Alert about marketing to female consumers in the automotive industry:
- CNW Marketing Research found that 47.3% of women car shoppers prefer women dealers
- In 2010, women made up 44.1% of primary vehicle buyers, and the number only continues to increase; now, women buy 68% of all new vehicles. That’s almost a 24% increase in less than five years
- Women are estimated to influence up to 85% of all vehicle purchases
- Women spend approximately $300 billion yearly on vehicles and accessories
- As of 2012, the amount of women who have driver’s licenses outnumbered men
- Studies show that three quarters of women feel misunderstood by carmakers
- Women are the fastest growing consumer group
Last year, Lexus made improvements in how the brand appealed to its female customer through the launch of the Lexus Difference. Peggy Turner, Vice President of Customer Experience at Lexus, became the champion of this program when she became aware that in order to attract more women into Lexus dealerships, they needed to feel more welcome and comfortable. According to Peggy, “I became aware of customers saying ‘as a woman I’m afraid to go into a dealer,’ or saying, ‘I don’t want to haggle,’ ‘I don’t want to get my car serviced there because they’ll rip me off,’ ‘I have to bring my husband or another male’ to the dealership.”
Read more about how Lexus is catering to female consumers at SheBuysCars.com.
To make improvements at your dealership, here are tips to cater to your female customers:
Deliver an Exceptional Purchase Experience
Delivering an exceptional experience is of course true for both genders but reports indicate that 50% of women are dissatisfied with the car they ultimately buy, which ties back to the sales experience. 77% of women also feel that they need to bring a male with them during their car buying process, and women generally end up paying about $500 more per car than men. Dealerships must address these issues to deliver better communication and an easier purchase process.
Make women feel comfortable at your dealership. Lexus of Massapequa recently held a “Cars & Cupcakes” event for women with an emphasis on car financing. Lexus implemented some favorable changes such as working with a Japanese perfumery to develop signature scents and offering yoga and spa treatments at several dealerships. Other dealerships are offering fresh fruit in addition to the donuts and popcorn, or more women-friendly magazines placed in the waiting area. These should be subtle differences – after all, you don’t want to alienate your male customers. However a few small tweaks can go a long way to let women know they are valued customers.
Don’t Neglect the Service Experience
Customer retention is of course critical to dealerships. Once the car is sold, getting a customer back in for service is a huge revenue opportunity for dealers. Recent findings by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association show 9 out of 10 women are involved in their household’s vehicle maintenance and repair decision‐making process and 65‐70% of the customers who take their vehicles in for service and repair are women. Women seek a trusted advisor in their dealership aftermarket experience. For example, 70% of women will buy tires when told they need them. The focus here is on building customer relationships. Provide service alerts, service scheduling and follow-up calls.
Women‐Drivers.com recently released a report on the top 10 dealers excelling at service and maintenance experiences. The top rated women-friendly brands included Mercedes‐Benz, Honda, BMW, Acura, Lexus, Buick and GMC, Jeep, Toyota, and Chrysler. Paying attention to their customer satisfaction is paying off with the report showing:
- 73% of women said they will service their car at the dealership in the future
- 53% said they have their car service work completed at the same dealership where they purchased their car
- 66% of the women received follow‐up communication from the dealership after the work was completed
Know Your Customers – And Treat Them as Individuals
Research suggests that women want small, safe, maneuverable, fuel-efficient cars. However there is also a huge majority of female drives who prefer trucks or minivans. While generalities can be loosely made for both male and female drivers, don’t assume. Develop marketing approaches that appeal to different segments and get the facts when marketing to your individual prospects.
The best way to do this is to use a third-party data source to append your prospect records. Common types of data that can be added to develop targeted campaigns for both men and women include:
- Demographics: full name, age, home ownership, occupation, gender, estimated income, credit card, language spoken, hobbies, purchase behavior, and lifestyle interests.
- VIN Data: Make, model and year of the car currently being driven, Kelley Blue Book and Black Book data, or even very specific data including engine size, fuel type, drive train, engine block, and engine cylinders.
With a better understanding of who your individual female customers and prospects are, the right messages can be developed to appeal to the luxury-minded professional, the soccer mom, the avid outdoor enthusiast, the family with 4 children, or perhaps the female segment that fits all of these roles.
Without question, women represent an important segment for dealerships. While all dealerships should implement strategies to appeal to different audiences, striving to be a dealership that women trust will capture loyal new customers who will keep coming back.