Why traditional retail could learn from auto retailers

  02 February 2020

An interesting study this week has shown the auto retail industry in a glittering light. Reputation.com, which provides online reputation management, conducts an annual Retail Reputation Report.

It opens by stating that 92% of customers trust peer recommendations over traditional advertising. “If you’re not in tune to what people are saying about your brand, you’ll lose business to other retailers who are.”

The surprise? Traditional retail was compared to other industries, including auto dealers – and the latter came out on top, with a ‘reputation score’ ranking of 607. Retail was down on 500, beating only healthcare and finance.

Auto dealers scored particularly well for their response rate to negative feedback – 69%, versus an appalling 2.8% for traditional retail. Even finance, rooted at the bottom of the table, only responded to negative feedback 15% of the time.

A 4.4 out of 5 average star rating for auto dealers was also the best in the set analysed by reputation.com, with finance again lagging on 3.0 out of 5.

It’s not quite a clean sweep. Where auto dealers perhaps could improve is by encouraging customers to leave more reviews. The average reviews per location was 263, compared to a whopping 609 for hospitality.

The figures say there’s nothing to lose, though: the star rating is already high, and any negative feedback that is left generally is dealt with in an industry-leading way. Win-win.

With online platforms such as Auto Trader now feeding in customer reviews prominently into search ratings, there’s added impetus to try and encourage customers to leave more reviews.

Auto retailers are doing a good job, according to the experts: they should try to encourage their customers to shout about it for them.



Richard Aucock


Auto Retail Agenda


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