They Want to See Transparency

Generation Y Car Shopping

Ad copy has included the words ‘no smoke, no mirrors’ for years because in the old days there was a mystery instead of clarity regarding the automotive buying process.

With the surge of available information for today’s shopper, mystery has been reduced to minuscule.  I hear from salespeople all the time about working with customers who often know more about a specific vehicle – equipment and pricing – than they do.

Chances are very good those customers are Gen Y, now the largest generation in the U.S.  I read with interest an analysis of the Gen Y profile delivered during the Dealer Socket User Summit. 

Two highlights:

  • Before a dealership visit, they spend 14 hours researching online.
  • They visit an average of 1.3 dealerships.

That research-to-shopping ratio would indicate ‘they know’ and that is why they can see right through smoke and mirrors.

The processes of your dealership from meet and greet to e-mail response must be genuine across the board.  Unmistakable clarity and candid simplicity are appreciated and demanded by today’s shopper.  Anything less is perceived as enough to justify moving on to the next dealership, and in a world of change, competition is still a constant.


About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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