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From the Shopping Mall to the Dealer Showroom

Published Oct 6th 2006, 11:05pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Gilbertkathyby Kathy Gilbert
I used to think that shopping was only for women, until I watched men in the sporting goods store.  I realized that everyone enjoys shopping when they are buying something for themselves or for someone they care about.

Shopping for your new or next vehicle purchase can offer the same amount of enjoyment.  As women, we account for over 51% of the population and influence over 80% of vehicles and accessories purchased.  We are homemakers, single mothers, students, teachers, business women and hard workers.  We are taking the lead and making our own decisions.

As such, women are in the market to purchase cars without the assistance of a significant other.  Sure, they offer advice and support… but the ultimate decision is ours.  Some of us have purchased before and some will be going to the mall (the showroom) for the first time.

So, as you leave the shopping cart and move onto the dealership showroom, remember how much fun shopping (of any kind) can be.   So, how do we prepare for the next big purchase?

Carts Prepare For The Shopping Trip
“Do your homework”, is the advice often given. But, guess what? That is exactly the first step. Being knowledgeable, doing your research and asking questions is very important. What type of car do you want, how much do you want to pay for it, do you have a trade, what’s the value of your trade, what features are most important to you… Many of us are focused on the monthly obligation and the down payment. But, safety, convenience and beauty are also on the list.

Once we have answered some of the basic questions. We use many of the resources available to us – like the Internet or the library -  to find out the asking price, the dealership that will offer the make/model/color we desire and most importantly, the features offered on the base model.

Shopping Trip To The Mall (Showroom)
Visiting the dealership with information in tow, we can expect to get varying responses.  Dealerships have been adjusting/modifying their marketing strategies over the years to address changing times (economic, market conditions, etc.)  And today isn’t much different.

Dealerships are doing more to market to women.  They are cognizant of our presence and making an effort to better service our needs.  With ads in the media outlets we read and hiring more diverse and female employees, dealerships understand the value we bring.  They understand the changing demographics and the buying influence.

From the initial window shopping to the final purchase, dealerships are making changes in the dealership to better appeal to and service the female shopper. 

Once the selection is made from a knowledgeable salesperson, that’s in tune with your needs, you move forward with the purchase, remembering that everything is negotiable.

Convertibledriving The Ride Home
The best part of shopping and buying is the ride home.  The anticipation of trying on your new purchases and ultimately how you will incorporate them into your wardrobe and your life is a feeling that makes the money you spend seem well worth it.

As women we have to ask the questions we want to know, we have to be prepared to walk away if we don’t feel like we are being listened to or respected.  But, most importantly, we have to understand that the dealership and personnel are still learning how to sell to us, since most of their buyers have been male.  So, be prepared.

The dealership has to know that we want to know and understand.   We have more questions and want to feel good about the purchase.  They have to answer all our questions and provide graphics (brochures, printouts) that we can keep.  Most importantly, they have to listen … because we have a way of expressing what we want.

Kathy Gilbert is the Director of Sales and Business Development within ADP Dealer Services Division based in Hoffman Estates, IL. Ms. Gilbert is also a member of the Women’s Automotive Association International, National Sales Network, National MBA Association, and the Association of Information and Imaging Management. Kathy is one of our newest Expert Women as well.

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