Admitting he’s having a midlife crisis, DealerSocket’s head of corp. communications shares why other 40-somethings with kids in tow make great candidates for digital retail.
By Patrick Mendoza
There’s no way to hide this…nowhere to run. I have to admit it…I’m having a midlife crisis.
I’m 42 years old, have a two-month-old baby (who is incredible), and I find myself craving the cars I used to drive in my youth.
Sounds familiar, right? I’m not the only guy going through this; in fact, it’s a bit cliché.
But what’s different from when my father experienced his midlife crisis (he bought a 924 Porsche in 1982) is that I’m able to look for my midlife crisis car online.
I spend hours online looking at Mustangs, usually while waiting for the little dude to fall asleep. I’ve had three Mustangs in my life, two 1998s (one of which I rolled down a hill in Austin) and a 2011. I also find myself dreaming of owning an Aston Martin from our friends at Aston Martin of Dallas.
I pour over listings, looking at the interiors, making sure it’s a manual transmission while contemplating either the V6 or V8 Mustang — they’re both superfast — and also comparing what one dealership has on its website vs. the others. I watch YouTube videos of guys taking their cars up to 160mph on the Autobahn, or listening to the ear-rattling exhaust notes coming from the Aston Martin Vanquish I can’t afford.
All this online viewing…what does that mean? Simply put, I’m one of the first millennials going through a midlife crisis. I love to shop online. I buy our groceries from Amazon, and most of my clothes I buy online, too. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to buy jeans online. Lots of free returns on those. I’m a millennial through and through when it comes to digital retailing.
But what’s the difference in my midlife crisis car shopping?
Buying a car is a lot different than buying bananas or a shirt online. I want to sit in it. I want to hear that exhaust note. I want to feel those horses throw me into the seat. I want that new car smell to fill my nose before I take it home.
That’s why the dealership will never die. People want to touch, feel, smell, and hear their car before they commit to buying it. It’s the second biggest purchase people make in their life, after their house, so they aren’t going to roll the dice with it.
But what is essential is to have that seamless, easy-to-use, online-to-showroom experience. We call it PrecisePrice here at DealerSocket. Does your website show all aspects of the vehicle and allow the buyer to opt-into F&I products? We found that when shoppers can self-select F&I products, the dealership sees an additional $300 in gross profit! Why? Because they like it when opting-in on their own, they like the ability to click and choose, researching on their own time. I like it when looking at GAP and extended warranties. It helps me see what the cost will be when I blow the transmission…
Also, when that buyer comes into your dealership, are they seeing the same features and the same price they saw online? You’d be surprised how often those items didn’t match up during my online searches.
The dealership will never die. However, online shopping is a great way to convert shoppers into buyers and increase sales and profits, especially when you have a midlife crisis guy like me showing up at your dealership.
Patrick Mendoza serves as director of corporate communications for DealerSocket, Inc.