Edmunds is Helping Make the Car Shopping Experience a Two-Step Process
The Future of Edmunds.com: Making car buying easier
Edmunds.com services 59% of U.S. new car shoppers. Maritz just named Edmunds.com the 4th most trusted review site on the Internet, in the company of Trip Advisor, Zagat and Open Table. And yet, we are not satisfied. In particular, we at Edmunds.com are driven to the point of distraction by two facts:
- Car shopping is still very painful (further evidenced by surveys continuously showing low trust levels for dealers)
- While our own customers trust us a lot, they have told us repeatedly that our service isn’t unique. Plenty of sites provide fairly comprehensive information these days; the alternatives to Edmunds.com are good enough
These facts drove us to make a radical shift. We have gone so far as to change our mission. We are now determined to make car buying easier. We further believe that the way to make car buying easier is to foster trust between consumers and dealers and that Edmunds.com has a key role to play in this regard. (In fact, we have already begun to play this role and have amassed data that proves how potent a role it can be. I’ll share this data a little further on).
Putting on our dreaming hats, we’e asked ourselves why we can’t make the following promises to our customers: That by belonging to Edmunds.com – much like an Amazon Prime customer by analogy – you will have a substantially easier time at the dealership; you will spend less time at the dealership and much more time in the comfort of your home; you will get what you want, from the salesperson you want, in a manner you can trust. On further reflection, we realized that we can’t think of any reason why these promises shouldn’t come to fruition.
After all this talk, we decided it was time to start somewhere. We surveyed our customers, comprehensively, in a manner that resembles the U.S. census, and learned that 54% of Americans believe that getting an actual price on a car is their single biggest unmet need. In this day and age, Americans cannot comprehend that cars should be different than any other consumer good. Why can’t they hop online, see the actual price, and decide to purchase?
We saw an important role for ourselves here and resolved to launch what we call the Edmunds Price Promise. In conjunction with our dealer partners, we offer actual prices on hundreds of thousands of cars – in industry parlance, on specific pieces of inventory. Our dealer partners – in making the Edmunds Price Promise – are promising our customers that they will honor that price when presented with a physical or digital certificate on that car, and that promise is also backed by Edmunds.com. We track each and every case to ensure those promises are being upheld.
Since we launched the program in February, here are the results:
- 60% more consumers are submitting their personal information on Edmunds.com in exchange for Price Promise certificates
- These consumers are looking at 150% more inventory pages
- 1/3 of all Price Promise deals close within two days of the certificate download
- Price Promise leads close 15% faster than any other type
- But most importantly, Price Promise dealers have seen their ratings and reviews scores rise by 10%. The trust levels and satisfaction levels inspired by the partnership with Edmunds.com are tangible and measurable.
We are so inspired with the performance of this product and the difference it is making for our customers that we are working on a suite of promises. There is no reason that leases, financing and the trade-in process cannot be negotiated through promises originating with our dealer partners to consumers, backed by Edmunds.com. When all is said and done, we want our customers to believe they will get, and to actually experience, a substantially easier time buying a car, in a manner they can trust.
This mission – and our early success – has further inspired us to refresh our website, to begin to make car buying easier. Aesthetically, this refresh is the most authentic representation of our dreams and aspirations we have ever released yet. Purchasable cars with actual prices are never more than 3 clicks away. The refresh launches October 15th. Be sure to check it out! And also be prepared for December 25th, when we will add to the 7 billion earned and paid impressions we already generate a year with the launch of a national TV ad campaign.
You can read more posts by Seth Berkowitz on his blog at Seth’s blog.
Seth Berkowitz is President of Edmunds