3 Ways the Digital Age is Changing the Way we Buy & Sell Cars
1. Direct online sales
If you want to buy a new television, there are a number of approaches you might take: Find a retail store that carries it, shop online, or even go direct to the manufacturer. But if you want to buy a new car, your options are limited. You can’t get it from the manufacturer, nor can you purchase it online. Conventional retail stores can’t carry it either. You have only one choice: an automobile dealer.
However, this is beginning to change. Tesla recently shook up the industry with its introduction of direct online sales. A modern way of car buying that 75% of consumers would consider. While the practice is illegal in a few of the United States (due to historic franchise laws & strong dealer unions), it has gained considerable momentum so far. Which begs the question – will other manufacturers follow suit?
With a growingly tech-savvy population – it’s almost impossible not to. With digital integration on the rise, more auto services are being offered online. From online service bookings to one-click test drives, the car buying & ownership process is becoming faster & more convenient. Consumers can soon look forward to, at the very least, beginning the car purchase journey online. Eventually, a plethora of options will follow: payments, insurance, full purchase and more.
2. Personalized relationship with dealers
Thanks to a new age of online communication, companies are changing the way they keep in touch. From replying to questions on business Facebook pages, to responding promptly to emails, sending out newsletters, & answering the phone – communication has become constant and consistent.
For car buyers, this type of omni-channel engagement will result in a more personalized relationship with the brand. We are beginning to see real-time access to dealers, via live chat or mobile App; expert advice when and where we need it; and personalized discounts & offers catered specifically for us.
According to recent McKinsey research, personalized, at-your-fingertips support is more crucial than ever; with over 40 percent of customers ranking product expertise as the most important element of a dealer consultation. By integrating online and offline channels, enabling consistent, constant communication, automakers will be able to offer a supportive role much earlier in the buying process.
3. Connected services
The world is becoming increasingly smart & connected. From smart phones to light bulbs, the number of devices connected to the Internet recently surpassed the total number of humans on the planet. And the auto industry is no exception. Internet-armed vehicles transmit texts for their drivers and adjust the temperature of homes before they arrive. Ultimately, as we all know, they will soon be driving themselves.
For automakers, this type of connectivity means data. According to a recent study, 76% of respondents are willing to allow their cars to send data to the manufacturer in order to improve the product under certain conditions. As every vehicle becomes a source for receiving and transmitting bits of information, safety and efficiency will improve and more customer-centric services will be added.
Additionally, armed with analytics, brands will be in position to offer automated service repairs, on-the-spot software updates & customer-driven product improvements. Along with connected fueling, parking, payment systems & dealer services – we are rapidly moving toward a time of omni-channel seamless experiences in-car, online, and everywhere in between.