Customers Know More About Cars than Dealer Salesmen – They Don't Just Search, they Research

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Car customers spend hours online and are more likely to know more about a dealer’s cars than the salesmen who sell them. announces plans to help dealer salesmen stay ahead of the customer and the imminent arrival of its ‘StarSearch’ facility based on finding cars for sale by customer ratings.

Dealers are being ‘digitally bombed’ by key parts of the automotive industry giving free advice to encourage them to take the massive changes in customer buying behaviour seriously.

As Automotive Management reported on 8th April, dealers find that customers ‘already have their mind made up’ before they visit a dealership. However that article and others are missing a key point – prospective customers don't just search for a car, they research the cars they want to buy and are increasingly looking to other car owners for their opinions. now has the views and opinions of over 538,000 car owners on virtually every make and model of car sold in the UK today.

A spokesman for the site said, “We've made a massive investment in gathering the opinions of known car owners – no one can submit a review to our site without being asked. Once a review is submitted, we ask other drivers of the same derivative of car if they agree or disagree with the review. This ‘digital diligence’ avoids spurious and fake reviews.”

According to Google, keen buyers will suck in information and will know a great deal about the car they want to buy. McKinsey & Company issued a paper in February 2014 which stated that 100% of used car buyers search on line first.

Most automotive commentators have missed a key change in car buyer behaviour. Prospective customers have been trained in review sites like TripAdvisor where they can find out what travellers thought of a hotel or holiday destination. Now they expect the same information to be available for cars for sale online and they expect it to be fair, accurate and up-to-date. spokesman said, “On line sites have improved their search facilities. However, they're behind the curve, car buyers will spend even more time researching what car is best for them. There’s no better way to do that than by asking other car owners who have lived with and paid for a car over the long term.” is planning to update their website in the next few weeks. In addition to a new look and appearance they will launch their ‘StarSearch’ facility to enable prospective buyers to research cars for sale based on car review ratings which is thought to be a first in the UK if not World Wide.

Whilst the site is customer facing, will work with dealers to give them access to reviews on all the cars for sale on their forecourt by linking information via car registration numbers to its unique database. spokesman said, “We plan to give dealers and dealer salesmen information on customer reviews on every car for sale on their forecourt where we have them. By working with dealers we think we can help salesman gain more information about the cars they have for sale. Better insight will help them preempt customer questions, learn more about a car’s selling points and handle possible objections.”

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David Titmuss
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