You’d think the fact that a large and growing number of car buyers are using the Internet to play dealerships off each other would be old news, yet somehow the game keeps changing. The latest move from consumer-oriented auto information behemoth Edmunds highlights the ease with which consumers can get the information they are looking for, and points to the opportunities dealers have in making that information available—and the perils of coming too late to the game.
Edmunds has long been a trusted provider of consumer-oriented information about cars and the car buying process. It also made the transition from print media to the online world more successfully than most, and continues to innovate in an effort to drive ever more traffic to its sites and tools.
In its latest gambit, Edmunds is taking its True Market Value service—an analytics tool that purports to tell consumers what they “should” be paying for a car, according to the criteria Edmunds has set, and made it seamlessly available for dealerships as well as consumers.
Essentially, car shoppers and dealers will be able to look at the same Edmunds TMV report at the same time, instead of the buyer going back and forth between dealerships. Match the price that Edmunds says is right, and you’re more likely to earn a quick sale…
…or so Edmunds would have you believe.
Edmunds would have you believe that easing access to information eliminates competition: one “true” price no matter what. We think that’s a great way to overlook the service element of auto dealerships and join the race to the bottom.
We agree with the fundamental design of the tool. Give car buyers the information they want, and make it easy for them to find it, and you’ll see higher sales numbers. In fact, we believe this so much we built a division of our company around it. Far from eliminating competition, though, this gives dealerships a whole new way to compete.
Provide better service through better information and you’ll see higher sales.
We’re not saying you should avoid Edmunds’ tools; if someone calls and only wants to hear your take on the “True Market Value,” you certainly won’t make a sale by refusing. But if Edmunds is the be-all and end-all of your information campaign, you’re doing things wrong. Relying on a third party to do your informational outreach when you could have even better information on your own site and available for your own marketing is a losing proposition, plain and simple.
When you’re ready to take control of your dealership’s consumer education, we have some ideas that might help. In the meantime keep checking back here for the latest in online auto sales news, video marketing and sales, and other industry info.