An important part of International Women's Day is to raise awareness about gender equality, bias, and stereotypes. Unfortunately, this discrimination is still prominent within the car industry. The stark reality is that many women still face challenges when shopping for a car, leaving them feeling intimidated and disrespected.
One of the biggest challenges we often hear from women who are in the market to buy a car is overt sexism and gender bias. Salespeople often assume that women don’t know much about cars or that they aren't serious buyers. This leads to a lack of respect, poor customer service, and an attempt to swindle them with higher prices.
At Clutch, we’re proud to provide a car buying and selling experience that leaves women feeling empowered and respected. Ashley Reyes-Chung, our Director of Revenue, says “I hear all the time from our female customers that they loved their experience with Clutch because we removed any factor of intimidation or upselling that can often happen at dealerships.” Clutch offers a no-haggle policy, meaning we don’t negotiate on price. Since we don’t have fancy showrooms like dealers we pass these savings on to our customers and aim to price our cars as competitively as possible. We also offer full pricing transparency on our website so that no customer feels intimidated or like they aren’t paying a fair price for their car. Lastly, we also offer a much safer experience for women than meeting a stranger in a parking lot, which still happens with a lot of private car purchases and sales.
In an interview with Vitadaily about ditching the sexist car-buying experience, customer Lauren says of her experience with Clutch, “I would say to try it! Especially for women who are worried about how they will be treated if they went to a dealership without a man present. It’s 2022 but sexism still exists for sure.”
At Clutch about 30% of our car purchases are made by women, although this number is likely higher since women heavily influence the car-buying decision. We know that historically this process has felt sexist and intimidating for females - in fact, in a study we conducted in conjunction with IPSOS we found that nine in ten (89%) women surveyed indicated that they preferred to bring someone with them when visiting a car dealership, a figure significantly higher than their male counterparts at 69%.
Despite this high percentage, there is still a lack of representation for women within the car industry. The majority of salespeople and dealership owners are men, and few women exist in leadership positions. This often makes it difficult for women to feel comfortable, represented, and respected.
At Clutch, 50% of our Executive team and over 50% of our Customer Advisors identify as female. We understand how important it is to prioritize inclusivity, not only with our customers during the buying and selling process, but also within our marketing efforts. “It’s very important to us to represent women and intersectionality within our brand,” says our VP of Marketing Whitney Bell. “From a customer perspective, we know that almost half of our purchases are initiated or influenced by a woman. Therefore, our marketing efforts need to be representative of this - across our creative assets and within our positioning. We’re in a unique position to become the number one destination for women who want to buy or sell a car in Canada.”
Women may also face pressure to buy a car quickly or to make a decision based on emotions rather than practicality. Salespeople often use high-pressure tactics or try to convince women to buy a more expensive car than they need.
In a recent interview with Driving.ca, Clutch customer Mona Loones says, “There’s a reason many women aren’t comfortable in a showroom. When I bought my previous car, I felt completely duped. I was always on the defensive, and I’m not comfortable negotiating. I don’t feel knowledgeable enough.”
At Clutch we hear stories like this and see it as an opportunity to provide the best customer experience. From the first interaction with a Customer Advisor to the moment a car is delivered to someone’s door, “our company fosters a respectful and safe experience for women looking to buy or sell their vehicle”, says Kelly Kwan VP and Head of Legal at Clutch.
Sadly the car buying and selling experience remains one that can be challenging for women due to stereotypes, lack of representation, and the pressure to buy but by purchasing with a company like Clutch, the experience can be enjoyable, seamless and transparent.