Many women report being wary of car shopping. They’re worried they may be the targets of “bait and switch” sales tactics or be duped by male sales personnel taking advantage of women’s perceived lack of experience in vehicle technology.
“In their car shopping experience, women can be treated like delicate flowers, completely out of their element, and in need of a tutorial on where the vanity mirror is, instead of on the advanced safety features the car is equipped with,” wrote Nicole Wakelin for BestRide.com. “Condescending attitudes, and a clear misunderstanding of what women want in a car — and from the car-buying process — make women want to turn around and walk right back out the door.”
While manufacturers are beginning to understand that tailoring the marketing and sales process for women is a lucrative thing to do — women buy 54 percent of the cars in the U.S. and influence 84 percent of all vehicle purchase decisions – dealerships have been slower to catch up.
Now SheCar, a woman-owned and operated online car dealership, is aiming to make the car buying experience a little less opaque for women and men alike. The SheCar online portal gives ordinary car buyers with a vehicle and a budget in mind access to dealer-only auctions, as well as real information about a vehicle’s estimated price based on its wholesale market value. The company was launched by licensed independent auto dealer Athena Staton, who provides customers with nearly every detail about a vehicle up for auction, including information that isn’t ordinarily available to buyers, such as the car’s actual value, according to Forbes’ Renee Morad, and dealer-only evaluation information.
“Once a vehicle is won at auction or a buy-now offer accepted, [Staton] also provides a post-sale report that further evaluates the vehicle’s engine, brakes, A/C compressor, airbags, electrical system and structural condition,” wrote Morad. “If any aspect of the report fails inspection, there is no obligation to purchase the vehicle.”
SheCar CEO Staton says she wants to help women who always feel like something’s a little off in traditional car buying.
“The car-buying experience could be particularly challenging for women who tend to have a harder time negotiating on the lot because they often instinctively know something is off, but they just can’t put their finger on it—neither can men for that matter. I want to play a role in changing that,” Staton told Forbes.