Online purchasing has made the buying decision quick, simple, and convenient. In addition, same-day and two-day shipping make battling the traffic all that more sour.
Consumers are drawn to staying shielded behind the screen when making purchases. This allows for avoiding salespeople trying to pressure you into buying with outdated sales strategies. Salespeople have a bad reputation for being less trustworthy, making online buying more comfortable for modern consumers.
Simple household items can be bought with little thought and evaluation. But, what happens when these online consumers start considering buying high importance purchases? Would you buy a car through an online transaction?
This concept stems from digital retailing. Digital retailing is integrating the online and in-dealership buying experience together with purchasing a vehicle.
A recent Cox Automotive study revealed that consumers would like an online option when purchasing a vehicle.
Searching Online Is the Start
At the beginning of the awareness stage, consumers tend to conduct their own research on your product and company.
When searching on the dealership website, consumers can acquire a range of information. Anything from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price to the estimated miles per gallon can be researched. Some are more thorough with their product research and others are not. Either way, online is the most common tool for product researching and buying.
That same study revealed that consumers would prefer dealerships that provide them the option of completing the purchasing process online. The study states that:
- “85% of respondents are more likely to buy from a particular dealership that allows them to start or complete nearly all of the vehicle purchase online”.
- “75% of respondents would consider buying a car more often if they could start or complete nearly all of the purchase online”.
However, the study further explains that there are certain car buying steps consumers prefer to do in-person, at the dealership.
Buying In-Store Is Sometimes Better Than Online
Moving steps online can make the buying process operate more efficiently. Although, there are steps that consumers still would like to do at the dealership from test driving to finalizing the paperwork. The study explained that “80% of respondents state that they would never purchase a vehicle without a test drive”.
Moreover, consumers still would prefer to finalize paperwork in-person at the dealership. Only 11% of respondents would like to finalize paperwork entirely online compared to 89% that will prefer to sign in-person.
Give your dealership a competitive advantage by connecting and understanding your consumer purchasing behaviors online and in-person.
Digitalize the Paperwork
In addition, the studies revealed that 83% of respondents want to do one or more of these steps online:
- The credit application and financial paperwork
- Outlining the deal structure
Minimize your processes and appeal to this preference. Allow certain paperwork to be completed over the Internet. This can help the buying process be more efficient for salespeople and consumers. Consumers can start the buying process online but finish the paperwork at the dealership if needed.
Be Transparent Online as You Would In-Person at the Dealership
The Cox Automotive study revealed that 51% of respondents would like to structure the deal over the Internet. To help build trust with your consumers provide them with vital information, such as deals, add-on accessories, and bundles. This information can help structure a transparent deal before heading to the dealership.
Online inventory can give consumers insight into vehicle models you have at your dealership. Implementing a “shopping cart” or a “build & buy” tool on your website. It can help satisfy the instant gratification of online shopping. However, to avoid misleading pricing be sure to include “data from consumer credit reports and local taxes and fees”.
Integrate and Connect Online Purchasing Steps with In-Person
As mentioned above, consumers do have certain online buying habits when purchasing over the Internet. However, the study highlighted that 62% of respondents would prefer help from dealership employees even with an online purchasing option. The solution is to integrate the car buying process with both online and in-person experiences.
Consumers need instant gratification, especially with their questions and concerns that need to be answered. Take advantage of certain tools that provide instant support. These tools range from AI chatbots to implementing inquiry forms that can connect them to industry experts within seconds.
There are perks of incorporating digital retailing strategies at your dealership, but the complete online transformation is not quite necessary. There are steps that are better done in person, at the dealership, rather than strictly online. A greater way to up your competitive advantage is to integrate the online purchasing steps with the in-store process. This will give your consumers a connected and streamlined car buying experience.
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