Why Car Dealerships Must Digitally Enhance the Car Buying Process


Traditional car buying processes are changing fast. Consumers visit fewer dealerships and spend less time at them when they arrive. Car buyers use the internet to do extensive research, complete more steps in the buying journey, and even purchase cars online.

To survive, car dealership groups must embrace this change. They need to take an omnichannel approach and think about how to seamlessly blend the online with the offline. Think along the lines of making the car buying experience as enjoyable, efficient, and effortless as possible. Don’t think of it as traditional versus online car buying—but rather as customer-oriented car buying.

Traditional Versus Online Car Buying

Why Car Dealerships Must Digitally Enhance the Car Buying Process

The infographic above illustrates how consumer behavior is changing and highlights the opportunities dealerships must seize by leveraging the automotive e-commerce solutions available today. As the topic points out, it is the traditional versus online car buying process. Here are three particularly important notes:

1. Today’s car-buying journey almost always starts online. Dealerships need to focus on having an online presence that delivers the information and experience consumers are looking for. For buyers, this means: guided vehicle searches to find what suits their needs and preferences, the ability to customize and compare vehicles, and making it easy to find dealerships near them in order to book visits or test drives.

2. Online capabilities should allow consumers to avoid in-person negotiations. Most buyers have never liked the haggling that often comes with buying a car and would prefer to receive quotes and transparent pricing online. Dealerships need to have the right functionality for customers to check their credit, see insurance rates, compare prices, and avoid any uncomfortable conversations they’d rather not have at the dealership. Even if this is not largely being done today, these changes are coming. Wouldn’t you want to be the dealership group that changes the game, rather than purely reacting to industry disruptors?

3. The transition from online to offline must be seamless. Dealerships need to have the right back-end systems and automations in place so that their salespeople can meet customers for the first time and already be prepared with the pertinent information at hand. Consumers don’t want to explain themselves again or be asked to give information they’ve already entered online. The in-person dealership experience needs to pick up right where their online experience left off.

Learn How to Digitally Enhance Your Dealership’s Sales Model

Adapting your dealership to thrive in today’s digital world requires having a firm understanding of e-commerce fundamentals.

To learn more about how you can successfully navigate this transition, expand your market reach, enhance your services, and leverage digital channels to drive revenue, download our latest guide the Fundamentals of E-commerce for Auto Dealers.

Becky Wright

Author: Becky Wright, VP Salesforce Alliance & Marketing

Becky’s background in corporate marketing, sales and leadership spans several industries including Media and Communications, Retail and Consumer Goods, Professional Services, Finance and Technology. With more than 15 years of worldwide experience in rapidly growing organizations, Becky plays a major role in integrating technologies and business processes to create demand engines that influence and convert growth. Becky’s passion for technology and B2B enterprise services inspire her to share unique perspectives on digital transformation strategies that deliver strong results and deep business intelligence.