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Millennial Moms Ditch the Minivan for Pickup rucks

Automotive News Millennial & Gen Z

Millennial Pickup Trend

It’s never been cool to drive a minivan. The automobile industry is seeing a record number of Millennial and GenZ moms saying bye-bye to minivans and taking the pickup truck plunge.

Yet, the minivan — specifically, the Dodge Caravan — has been the mainstay of the American family driveway for nearly three decades.

In the past, soccer moms have forgiven the minivan’s stodgy appearance. Because it was so darn efficient at moving kids in, out and around town.

Today's moms are a different breed altogether from moms who’ve come before. A new trend has emerged and now record numbers of women are replacing their minivans for pickup trucks.

Since the 1990s, SUVs have provided an alternative for those looking for a little more style in their rides than minivans. But, pickup trucks, especially the #1 best-selling Ford F-150, are delivering a better way to travel with families.  

Millennial dealerships

Millennial Mindset

There are many reasons behind the trend, but chief among them is the unique mindset of the demographic itself. These Millennial and Gen Z moms question all kinds of old thinking, including the idea that you can’t look cool when you’re shuttling kids around. Turns out you can look cool, and the pickup truck is the way to do it.

So, there’s a good reason Millennials and Gen Zers constantly question conventional wisdom, like the old dictate, “moms buy minivans.” They’ve grown up with the Internet, after all. What if I don’t like minivans? What if there’s another vehicle out there that makes sense and looks cool, too? Consequently, for this younger generation, there is no problem that can’t be solved, no question that can’t be answered in seconds using the phone in their pocket. They’re the most mobile generation in history, and they don’t have the patience for websites that don’t deliver the answers they’re looking for.

Think about the Amazon mobile shopping experience; with a few clicks in mere seconds, you can certainly find and purchase just about any item you want entirely on your phone. Amazon makes it easy to research and compare similar items right on their site. There’s never a need to click off and get bits and pieces of information elsewhere. And this is a big one: Amazon never requires you to speak with a sales associate before you can make a purchase.

Moving Foward with Millennials

  • To be successful going forward, car dealers need to be taking the Millennial mindset very, very seriously. How confident are you? Is your website is providing the best mobile experience it can for all of these future family's? Is your mobile dealer website ready for a millennial or GenZer to research Ford 150 pickup trucks or any vehicle?
  • Adapting your dealer website to the way people want to shop is the key to surviving in the automobile industry. If your car dealer website frustrates these Millennial and Gen Z moms even for a second, they bounce off your site and you’ll probably never hear from them again. Many of them conduct their car shopping research late at night after work is done and the kids are settled. They literally don’t have time for a poor mobile experience. And, even if your dealership was open in the wee hours while mom is checking out trucks to buy, the last thing she wants to do is call you and speak to someone. Millennials find any interruption in the online experience annoying.

For years, car dealers have operated on the principle that if you can just get potential shoppers into your dealership, you’ll be able to sell them a car. But that old way of thinking is proving costly for those dealerships that haven’t yet begun to adapt to the way Millennials and Gen Zers shop today.

When these younger shoppers walk into your showroom after having a poor dealer website experience, they realize that they don’t have all the facts they need to make the next move. Remember, these folks with the internet in their pockets aren’t used to feeling confused. While you’re wasting time trying to sell to them, their minds are swirling with questions, like:

  • Will a pickup truck really fit into my family’s lifestyle?
  • Can I get a better price elsewhere?
  • Should I sell my minivan to a private buyer to get a little more, or trade it in at the dealership and save the hassle?

You’ll never talk these millennials and Gen Z moms into a sale because they’re fuzzy on the facts, they don’t want to make a mistake and your dealer website missed an opportunity to fully prepare them to make a purchase.

These buyers are such believers in research that they trust their own judgment over anything your salespeople can tell them. They don’t want to be “sold to.” They want you to be there when they need you and get out of the way when they don’t.

321 Ignitions Moves Dealer Websites Forward

When it comes to providing a dealer website experience tuned to the needs and expectations of Millennials and Gen Z buyers?

The majority of dealership websites are clunky, outdated and completely missing the boat when it comes to giving younger buyers a frustration-free experience. Worst of all, most of today’s dealerships don’t realize their websites have a problem.

321 Ignition, sprang into existence to help dealers sell cars faster and deliver a perfectly tuned car buying experience. Our team hails from Fortune 100 brands and tech startups, not from the automotive world. This gives us unhindered, unique perspectives. 321 Ignition is not tethered to pre-conceived notions about what can or cannot be achieved in the car industry. As in every other successful industry, adapting to the needs of customers is the single best way to maximize profits.

4 Key Elements for Minding Millennials

So, you want your dealership website to gain busy millennials (aka Generation Y) and Generation Z mom loyalty? Here are the elements that make for an excellent mobile-first experience:

  1. Your dealer website needs to let younger shoppers do the homework before making such a big financial decision. It would be best if you were publishing information on your site to help younger buyers answer questions similar to:
  • Will, a pickup truck make sense for my family?
  • How will my FICO Auto Score affect my car loan?
  • What are the Pros and cons of trading-in my car vs. selling private privately?

Most dealer websites spend a ton of money on blogs. Instead of producing useful content for these younger buyers who thrive on feeling informed, they feel overwhelmed. These blogs end up being unhelpful keyword stuffers that don't take Google's best practices into account.

  1. Your dealer website needs to shorten the time people spend in the dealership to about one hour. These younger shoppers are on the go, fast experience in your showroom is a pleasant experience. Millennials and GenZ's don't have the patience for today's abysmal average time of 4 hours in-showroom. This time spent hammering out financial details and what-not in person. Everything possible should be done online beforehand. While the kids are at school or in bed and mom has a free minute. For example, your dealer website should feature a short "smart" car loan application for a specific applicant. Smart apps increase completion rates many-fold. By the time these buyers come into your showroom, the heavy lifting already happened. All that's left is a test drive.
  2. And speaking of test drives, your dealer website needs to let people schedule a specific time/date for a test drive online. You should know that you're frustrating a whole generation of buyers if you still require people to fill out a request form to test drive and calling them back to confirm. These younger shoppers expect to be able to schedule appointments entirely online. Dealerships who do it the old way look irritatingly old-school.
  3. Your dealer website needs to allow for real trade-in appraisals using photo uploads. How many times have you given a ballpark appraisal and the car value plummeted when you see it in person? That kind of sloppiness erodes trust and wastes time. When potential buyers can snap photos of their car using their phones and then upload them to your site, your appraisals are more spot-on. 

Months? Years? Decades? It's anybody's guess how long the pickup-truck-as-mom-mobile trend will continue. 

Moreover, your dealer website's mobile experience is the key to selling more cars, faster to Millennial and Gen Z buyers. Please take a good hard look at your dealer website, make capitalizing on car-buying trends as they emerge.