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The vast majority of car buyers say the dealership experience affected their decision to buy and made them feel confident in their choice, according to a survey by experience agency ChangeUp.

The company’s report, “Why the Dealership Experience Still Matters,” showed 84% of the more than 1,200 recent car purchasers surveyed agreed that their dealership visit influenced their buying decision, and 90% said their experience gave them confidence they had made the right decision.

In addition, 61% of the respondents said they weren’t sure which vehicle was right for them until they visited the dealership in person.

“Our findings indicate exactly what we’ve seen with our clients these past few years – that the dealership remains a fundamental part of the car-buying journey,” ChangeUp CEO Lee Carpenter said in a news release.

“The dealership is so much more than just a transactional space. It’s an opportunity to design a holistic retail experience that brings your brand to life and connects you more deeply with your customers.”

The survey also found millennials and Generation Z shoppers are most impacted by a dealership visit, with 78% of respondents ages 18-29 and 73% of 30-44-year-olds saying they were uncertain about their vehicle choice until they were in the store.

The design and physical aspects of the dealership also have a strong impact on customers’ decision to buy, according to the report. More than 80% of those surveyed said the design positively influenced their trust in the dealer and their view of the vehicle’s brand. And 55% said they’ve decided against buying a vehicle at a dealership because of the way it looked.

The service department and sales experience can also have a major effect on potential buyers.

While only 11% said they felt more negative about the dealership after having service done, 80% said they have told others to avoid a dealership because of a bad service experience. Meanwhile, 78% said they’ve decided not to buy at a dealership because they did not like the sales process and 82% made that same decision as a result of a poor overall experience,

A copy of the full report can be obtained here.

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