Buying a Car on the Internet
These days, the easiest way to keep track of national holidays is by simply watching car commercials. You’ll never miss a holiday when you could just Head on over to ACME Nissan for our 4th of July Spectacular Sale! Or Celebrate President’s Day the right way! Come on down to Freehold Lincoln!
But what if you don’t want to spend your 3-day weekend schlepping all over the tri-state area going dealer-to-dealer? Wouldn’t be great if you could do all that research, quote gathering, financing, and negotiating from the comfort of your living room?
That dream is not so far-fetched, actually. According to a Polk and Autotrader.com study, 70% of new and used car buyers use the internet while shopping for their vehicle, with 58% of all buyers listing the internet as the most influential element in their car buying process. But the online car buying process doesn’t stop there. In fact, eBay Motors has sold 4.62 million passenger vehicles solely online since its inception. Tesla is the newest entry in the online car sale market, check this out.
The rise of the Internet has changed the world significantly, but what has remained constant even throughout the Internet revolution is the sales process. Whether you bought your first used car in the Ford era (Gerald that is) or are just now searching for your first new car, the sales process can be broken down into five steps:
1. Researching the best car
2. Requesting a quote
3. Gathering dealer specific financial information and special deals
5. Finalization and delivery of vehicle
Clearly, the first two steps have been quick to switch online. Print car classifieds are about as relevant today as a portable cd player. Yet it has taken longer for deeper level steps such as requesting quotes, gathering dealer specific information, and negotiating terms to shift online.
This phenomena is actually quite curious, because current technology and, more importantly, widespread consumer access to such technology allows for easy execution of these deeper-level, more interactive steps to occur right in the consumer’s web browser.
With a “consultative sales” platform that allows for in-browser sales communication installed on a dealer’s website, nearly the entire sales process can be executed from the comfort of a consumer’s own home.
After requesting a quote, or even simply repeatedly viewing the same listing, the dealer can be notified of a visitor’s interest in a particular car. By simply initiating a chat request, a dealer can directly engage its customers in browser, in real-time. Special online deals can be offered, basic financing and negotiation can take place, and a much larger portion of the sales process can be completed before the customer has a chance to head on over to a competitor’s site.
Of course, in-person test drives can be set up, but virtual test drives and the quality of the video chats can be greatly effective in replacing their in-person counterparts.
Essentially, everything just short of the terminal steps, namely signing the actual papers and delivering or picking up the vehicle, can be completed online, and that’s good news for those of us who just want to sleep in on our holiday weekends and enjoy a nice Homeland marathon.
By Jacob Sachs (Business Development, SaleMove)