I drove past my local Hyundai dealer the other day and noticed that they were having a 3 day sale. I began to wonder how well quick sales work with such a highly involved purchase decision such as a car. Surely people that want to buy a car would spend ages looking at all kinds of different cars and options before settling on one so would a 3 day sale work for most people?
Let’s discuss purchase decisions and how they are made.
Marketing research suggests that there are 5 stages consumers go through when making a purchase
Of course in some purchases a lot of these stages are skipped or combined. For instance, when purchasing a tube of toothpaste you wouldn’t necessary search for information on brands, you’d just look at the supermarket shelf and perhaps buy on brand awareness of familiararity.
Now going back to the car example, most people would pass through all of these purchase steps. why? Well there are various levels of purchase involvement:
Low Involvement: Purchases that are usually of a low monetary cost, are usually habitual and don’t need a great deal of evaluation such as buying a toothbrush, an orange, a pencil, chewing gum
High Involvement: Purchases that involve a great deal of money or personal risk that require planning such as buying a car, fridge, house, stock shares. Obviously you would be very cautious of such purchases and so you are very cognitively involved in the purchase decision.
So technically, how is the Hyundai dealership going to rake in the cash from a very short 3 day sale? People are highly involved when buying a car. I’m not sure how tempting a sale really is when you want to make sure you are making the right decision. The sale would be great for the people who have already begun their car research and have been looking at various makes and models because they would already be in Evaluation of Alternatives stage of their purchase. If they decided that Hyundai was the car they wanted to buy then they could cash in. But people who are just at the beginning of looking at the car options may not pounce on the sale due to fear that the rush to buy may lead to a wrong choice.
I suppose that if a customer was only just beginning their search for the right new car and they went into the dealership during the sale, the sales person would probably offer to keep the sales prices for them for around a week while they made their decision and in turn, that thought that they were getting a special deal, would prompt them to think more favourable towards Hyundai and lean towards their cars from the very beginning. Also I’m sure a few people would make car purchases quicker than others and would just purchase the car on the spot during the sale without looking too far around. Those people may then experience bad Post Purchase Evaluations once they realise that they made a hasty decision… even if the car they bought was perfectly fine.
I would like to see the sales turn over during these type of short sales for products that are high involvement purchases. It would be interesting to see just how many people put price over a sensible search for the right car.
I suppose the internet makes purchase decisions easier by providing a myriad of information right at the purchasers fingertips. They can compare features and read forums to make semi decisions before arriving at the car yard.
Note to self: Do lots of car research on the internet and be prepared for when a sale pops up.