Car dealerships should offer an Amazon-like shopping experience.
Consumers want a seamless car-buying experience to save time and money, and eliminate the stress of haggling to get a good deal.
They already use the Internet to research a particular model, understand financing, confirm insurance options and scout dealer locations.
However now customers are even more motivated to speed up the transaction process and streamline the entire shopping experience. Shoppers increasingly want the Amazon buying experience to apply directly to car shopping.
Why should a car dealership provide such an online shopping experience? Shopping online now provides the buyer with a faster quote price, often lower than what the salesperson can offer, eliminating the mystery around the costs of the car.
A dealership has the opportunity to broaden its customer base, connecting with buyers outside their local market. Car dealerships that implement Internet-only, dedicated sales staff can provide unique new services.
The Internet car shopper, along with the assistance of a car dealership’s Internet sales person, receives more car options to choose from, a variety of F&I products to consider and a clear understanding of their overall car financing and final costs involving the lease or purchase of a car.
It is a known fact that most customers do not want to visit car dealers, because they think the sales process is time consuming and often convoluted. Amazon guarantees consumers the best transparent prices. In addition, the experience of shopping online is always the same.
Although there is no personal attention, buyers control their purchase. The process is consistent. Consumers have embraced online shopping for almost all of their shopping needs, ranging from groceries to clothing to electronics. It is a natural transition that car dealerships open their “virtual doors” and embrace online car shopping as well.
Many car shoppers still may want to take a test drive, but consumers say they would like an online “buy now” button and would truly appreciate a “no-pressure” auto-purchasing experience.
Obviously, even as the Internet gains in importance as a shopping channel, dealers will still want to use the test drive as a way to get face-to-face with consumers and close a sale. Accommodating these shifting attitudes with buying a car will require equal changes to the dealers’ processes, including investment in new Internet technology.
However, the Amazon model has demonstrated the value of offering customers an online component to the dealerships’ sales model.
Car dealers typically do not earn as much from new-car sales. Their profits come largely from F&I, service, parts and used-car sales.
Embracing an Amazon shopping experience can increase overall car sales as it adds a new sales channel and a growing part of the comprehensive sales chain. In addition, car dealerships that invest in more sophisticated technology will now be able to handle online sales transactions, have better access to sales data, provide comprehensive compliance metrics and even use their Internet site as an internal learning center for staff.
Car dealers with a robust dealership network, combined with a strong online sales component, enjoy a distinct competitive advantage. Consumers looking to buy a car want to see a car dealership offer both standalone retail and online sales.
Max Zanan is CEO of Total Dealer Compliance. He can be reached at 917-903-0312 and [email protected]