Love It Or Hate It, Online Car Buying is Here to Stay

The days of customers wandering into your dealership looking for their next car may be nearing an end. Buying cars online is growing in popularity, and it looks like it’s a trend that’s here to stay. Exactly how will this impact the automotive industry?

Potential Online Car Buyers Weigh In on the Pros and Cons

Business Wire released the results of a 2021 study evaluating the online car shopping experience, and the results were surprising. Amazingly, an estimated 80% of car buyers would be open to purchasing their vehicle online.

Some of the top benefits consumers reported were the ability to shop on their own time and without high-pressure sales tactics, comparison shopping from the comfort of home, and spending less time at the dealership. In fact, 86% of these buyers cited time saved as the biggest factor in deciding to purchase online.

These potential buyers did have some misgivings about an online car purchase, stating that they were concerned about vehicle damage during shipping, shipping costs, an inability to test drive the vehicle, and potential problems returning a vehicle if necessary. 

The buyers would be more likely to purchase the vehicle if there were multiple shipping options, the ability to inspect the vehicle after delivery, a full history of the vehicle, and all paperwork, including title and tags, completed before the vehicle was delivered.

Dealerships Respond to Consumer Demand

Initially, many dealerships adjusted to the shift to online sales as a temporary answer to a decline in sales following the pandemic. Like many of the cultural shifts from the pandemic such as remote workforces and curbside delivery options, online car sales became a permanent solution to what was thought to be just a temporary problem.

Consumers are no longer satisfied with the traditional way of doing things. To remain viable in today’s marketplace, successful dealerships are making adjustments.

Increased Inventory Listed Online

Successful dealerships find that increasing the number of vehicles listed online keeps them relevant to buyers. Exterior pictures of vehicles with multiple interior views are the most helpful way to connect with customers. 

Price Transparency

Since customers have listed “no pressure” as a benefit to online car purchasing, these buyers will be more likely to interact if they can see pricing upfront rather than “calling for the price.” 

Many online dealerships offer an “online price” that reflects a discounted rate.

Increased Responsiveness

Successful dealerships monitor email, text, and chat box messages to ensure they don’t miss an opportunity. Customers are trying to schedule test drives, confirm availability, and negotiate prices remotely.

Streamlined Services

The increasing popularity of online automobile purchasing is the ability to streamline the entire process. From financing to tags and title work, consumers are looking for a blend of the online and in-person experience. According to a 2021 survey, 90% of buyers prefer working with dealerships that allow them to begin the purchasing process online, and 72% of potential buyers would prefer to complete financing and credit applications that way.

Bay Motor Finance is Here for All Financing Needs

Even though the car-buying landscape is changing, we’re committed to dependable financial services for our dealerships and partners. This includes fast approvals and funding for your customers regardless of their credit score. Ready to partner with a winning team? Contact us now.