“Dealerships should be where people go for the fun stuff,” Krane says.
Drive Motors’ Aaron Krane.

Presidents’ Day Prediction: Online Car Buying Will Spike

Dealers are working on special incentives and ecommerce ads, tipping points for customers who are on the fence and holding out for a compelling reason to buy.

With the popular car-buying Christmas season and year-end rush long past, Memorial Day months away, and a winter cold still hanging around much of the country, February is a unique time for car dealerships.

Dealers have an opportunity this month to recapture consumer attention without straining their marketing budget.

That’s why they are laser-focused on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 19. It typically is a “big” car-shopping holiday. To further fuel this buying event, many manufacturers have recently re-aired Super Bowl spots, raising the awareness of near-market and in-market consumers.

Accordingly, we at Drive Motors predict online car orders will increase at least 50% during this Presidents’ Day weekend.

It comes down to two basic reasons:

First, dealers are working on special incentives and ecommerce ads. Those are tipping points for customers who are on the fence and holding out for a compelling reason to buy.

Second, customers and the media rapidly are warming to the notion of buying cars online. The auto-retail market has received more than $1 billion in venture investment, and anecdotally, Drive Motors is having great success at thought leadership in the car ecommerce space.

Buyers are increasingly exposed to innovative car commerce and technology, which means compounding consumer expectations of convenience every year henceforth.

Consumers are more than ready to order their next car online. Nine out of 10 consumers are more likely to buy from dealerships that offer strong online functionality, even if they ultimately don’t complete their order online, according to a recent Cox Automotive study.

These market trends will amplify the increased sales activity Presidents’ Day already brings. During the holiday’s weekend last year, online car orders increased 20% over the daily average, a strong gain in and of itself (and in spite of tax season).

Over that weekend, we observed dealers selling as many as four cars per day, exclusively through their online checkout. On Presidents’ Day itself, online car orders spiked 40%.

The dealers that win this time around will be those who leverage ecommerce to give car buyers the convenience they increasingly want.

Aaron Krane is the CEO and founder of Drive Motors, which offers dealerships e-commerce solutions and online buying tools.

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