Autonomous vehicles, online car shopping, and ridesharing have been gradually picking away at auto dealers’ profits, but there’s another, perhaps even larger threat lurking in the shadows: bad customer reviews on social media.
In a recent 23,000-participant study conducted by our sister company MaritzCX, approximately six in ten respondents stated that social media reviews directly impacted their last auto purchase decision. That number climbs markedly for car buyers under the age of 35 years, as 63% of younger shoppers read online social media reviews before choosing a vehicle. It’s no surprise that social media has quickly become a popular and trusted source of reference for car shoppers; this is apparently just the nature of the beast, so to speak.
But unlike self-driving cars, online dealerships, and rideshares – all of which contribute to the forced evolution of auto dealers vis-à-vis natural selection – threats such as negative social media reviews aren’t just part of doing business in the modern era. Au contraire, mon ami! By understanding how auto buyers use social media reviews to make decisions, car dealers actually have the capability of deescalating these threats to avoid earning Darwin Awards.