View All Motorcycle News

Email a friend
Print Friendly

Lack of test rides costs dealers sales

Dealer-related issues turn off 51% of shoppers

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 11, 2008
Motorcycle dealers are losing business for reasons they could have prevented, says a report released by J.D. Power and Associates.

The inaugural Motorcycle Escaped Shopper Study analyzes the reasons shoppers consider a particular brand but decide go for a different one instead. The study received responses from 3,022 shoppers looking for new motorcycles in September and October 2008.

The report found that 51% of shoppers will reject a brand because of dealer-related issues. Approximately 24% cite lack of test rides as a reason for not buying a motorcycle; 7% say a lack of test rides is the primary reason they decided against a bike.

“To avoid losing customers due to dealer-related issues, it’s important for dealers to better manage customer expectations,” says Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “For example, making customers aware before they arrive at the dealership why they can or cannot test ride a particular motorcycle may help brands convert more shopper visits into sales. Since dealer-related issues can be controlled to a certain extent by dealerships and brands, focusing on meeting customer expectations in this regard can result in improved customer perception of a brand as well as lower rejection rates.”

Meeting customer expertations can help dealers improve sales.The report also found that 18% of shoppers reject a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership while 15% say site the quality of service as a reason for rejection.

Price-related issues were the most often cited reason for rejecting a purchase. The report found that 41% of shoppers say price was a reason for rejection with 28% saying it was the primary reason. A lack of low-interest financing, rebates or other incentives was cited by 16% of shoppers while 23% mention high maintenance costs.

“It is important for dealers to understand that for many of these lost sales, there was a legitimate chance of closing the sale during the shopping process,” says Fox. “Eighty-four percent of shoppers indicate they ‘seriously’ considered the brand they rejected, and 41 percent indicate they ‘very seriously’ considered the brand. While price is often a major reason for rejection, 51 percent of shoppers end up spending the same or more on the brand they purchased compared with the brand they considered but rejected.”

The study also looked at how shoppers research motorcycles when considering a purchase. The Internet proved to be the most popular source of information with 81% saying they did their research online. Magazine reviews were cited by 73% of shoppers while 28% say they get their information from trade shows and motorcycle events. Dealerships are another popular source of information with 78% saying they contacted or visited a dealer for information before purchasing.

“More than three-fourths of customers report interacting with a dealership to find more information on a particular motorcycle, so manufacturers have a great opportunity to win or lose customers at this point in the shopping process,” says Fox.