Chances are you’ve seen or heard about companies who want to take the hassle out of car shopping by providing online services. As consumers get back to their normal day-to-day lives and get back to car shopping, they are doing it differently than before the pandemic.
Here’s a look at the online car buying trend and how it is changing the auto sales industry.
What Does It Mean to Buy a Car Online?
For years many people would do their initial research about cars online and then head to their local car dealers to talk to a salesperson and purchase their vehicle. Now, a trip to the dealership is no longer a part of the process for many buyers.
You can use the internet to compare cars, get an in-depth look at the interior and exterior, complete all the paperwork, and then have it delivered to your driveway.
The Benefits of Buying a Car Online
There are several benefits to buying a car online. In many cases, it’s a much shorter process for the customer, and they often have a wider selection of vehicles to choose from.
Car buyers who shop online are no longer limited to what the dealer has on their lot. They can look at inventory from a variety of dealerships and even shop directly from the manufacturer without having to take the time to drive to different locations.
Online Car Buying Companies
Car shopping websites continue to pop up, giving car buyers more options. You’ve probably either seen Carvana’s ads or even used them. They offer 360-degree photos of their available vehicles and provide a prequalification process that takes just a few minutes. Carvana will pick up your trade-in deliver your new one, and they offer a 100-day limited warranty and a seven-day money-back guarantee.
Used car websites such as CarMax and Autotrader are also expanding their services to provide a complete online purchasing experience.
Direct-To-Dealer Online Car Buying
With the pandemic driving online sales up, car manufacturers are also getting in on the action. General Motors developed CarBravo, a used car shopping experience that offers customers the choice to shop online, at the dealership, or use a combination. The service has a large inventory of used GM vehicles along with used vehicles from other manufacturers.
Honda has an online option for car buyers. It includes online loan approval, a direct inventory link so customers can find the vehicle they want by using the Honda website, and they can find out which dealerships have it in stock.
Toyota’s Smart Path program allows customers to access inventory from dealerships around the country and lease, purchase, and finance their next vehicle without having to go to a dealership. Millennials may have started this change in the car buying process; the pandemic drove it even further to an online experience. And it’s not going back.
Car shoppers have more options, and dealerships now have more customers. They just need to capitalize on their online audience and make the most of their remote customers.
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