For years, car buyers have put up with a sales process that takes hours on end and wasn’t particularly customer-friendly, so what’s driving the recent movement towards online car buying? Were car buyers of the past that much more tolerant than today’s buyers?
I think the change is less about a change in tolerance levels and has much more to do with people’s retailing experiences today. In the past, whether car buyers liked the process or felt they could do more with their time than spend hours at a dealership, they really didn’t have anything to compare it to.
We now live in a world where people’s buying expectations are heavily influenced by companies like Amazon that deliver the convenience and flexibility to purchase almost everything online −with just one click.
The effect of Amazon and other e-tail behemoths is why most car buyers today expect a dealership to deliver a great consumer experience that is fast and friendly. Consumers are conditioned to having instant gratification in ways they never had before.
In the past, car buyers might have been dissatisfied with the sales process to an extent, but dissatisfaction levels rise when most other retail experiences have changed as much as they have in recent years. You can’t expect today’s car buyers not to be influenced by everything else they are experiencing in online retail.
Even if you are a first time buyer, and have not had any past negative experiences buying a car the traditional way, you have become accustomed to the ease and customer satisfaction that has been evolving everywhere else in retail.
In fact, a recent study have found that Millennials enter the car buying market with a much more positive outlook than do their elders. They don’t come with the baggage of feeling they won’t get a good deal or must spend hours and hours there.
But if things do go amiss at the dealership, younger buyers are more unsatisfied than older generations.
In response to the changing retail landscape, companies are creating new digital tools help dealers sell more cars, because the online process is critical to building trust between the consumer and dealer.
There has been a lot of empty talk over the past 10 years about how technology will revolutionize car buying. This time it feels different. The car business appears perched on the precipice of change, and while there’s still some reticence from auto dealers, most industry insiders say the current online trends are clear, and resistance will be costly going forward.
Now the time has come!