Over the last few years, the auto industry has faced numerous challenges. First, the pandemic led to dealership closures. Then, supply chain issues led to reduced inventory. Today, manufacturers are producing fewer new vehicles and driving prices up.
Simultaneously, people still need vehicles. In response to the industry changes, dealerships need to find the right digital selling tools to support consumers turning to the internet, hoping to catch a deal and reduce the time it takes to buy a car. Research projects that the online car buying market will reach $722.79 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 12.2% from 2021-2030.
When you know the advantages of buying a car online, you can choose an entirely digital process that reduces time and, sometimes, cost.
A car is a major purchase that requires a lot of time and research. Most likely, you’re using the internet to do your research, getting information on gas mileage and blue book value. Since you’re already online, you might want to consider buying your car directly from your home rather than heading into the dealership.
When you buy a car online, you can gain quick visibility into your loan and lease eligibility status by uploading your applications into the financing company’s system. Even better, since you’re not locked into the dealership’s financing program, you can apply to multiple agencies looking for the loan program that best meets your needs.
If you know what you want, you might have a hard time finding it locally. With limited supply, your local dealership may not have the exact make, model, color, and options you want. Instead of settling for something that’s “close, but not quite it,” you can use the internet to search nationwide for a dealership that has exactly what you want and purchase it through them.
Driving to multiple dealerships increases the overall costs of buying a new car, from gas to time spent traveling. When you buy online, you can shop from the comfort of your couch or kitchen at any time of day, instead of being locked into spending your evenings and weekends driving around to different dealerships.
In today’s limited market, many dealerships aren’t negotiating prices. When you buy a car online, you can talk to more dealerships to negotiate the best price possible. Since you can contact more dealerships, you can use that to your advantage.
In some cases, you might want to try contacting the Fleet Sales Manager or Internet Sales Manager who can eliminate much of the hassle you’d get from the traditional sales team.
Further, many online auto transactions will still let you trade in your current vehicle, so you can use that as part of your negotiations.
For many people, the ability to test drive a car before buying is critical. The good news is that many online dealers will deliver the car to you so that you can do a test drive without anyone sitting next to you. While most give you seven days to try out the vehicle, some will give you up to ten days. This allows you to better determine whether the car fits into your daily routine.
If you’re in the market for a used car, then online purchasing gives you the flexibility needed to do your research. When you’re at the dealership, you might feel awkward looking at the VIN to get a vehicle history report online. However, when you’re doing it from home, you can easily verify the information before you make a commitment.
Even though car listings have most of the information you need, you might still have questions. When you buy online, you can request assistance like a personalized tour through the virtual showroom or a video call to get answers from someone.
Sometimes, you just need time to think through your options before committing to the decision. If you’re in the dealership, you might feel pressured because the salesperson is standing right in front of you. When you buy online, you can take all the time you need since no one knows that you’re shopping.
When you buy a car online, you can have it delivered directly to your house. The delivery fits into your workday without requiring you to take time off or rush at the end of a busy day. And if you sold your previous car on your own, you don’t need to look for a ride.
Since you’re buying the car virtually, many dealers will provide a money-back guarantee that includes the delivery and return transportation costs. With an in-person purchase, you have no options once you take the title. When you purchase online, you have additional protections if something is wrong with the vehicle.
If you want to buy online, you’re likely looking for a seamless digital experience. Purchasing a car comes with a lot of paperwork, from finance agreements to transferring title. You should make sure that the dealership offers eSignatures and online notarization for a completely paperless process.
The future of auto sales is virtual (or at the very least, a hybrid of digital and in-person options). As more dealerships adopt digital purchase models, consumers can expect to be sent digital documents to sign and notarize online. For example, some transactions require a signed and notarized Limited Power of Attorney form. Notarize provides a completely digital experience by connecting signers with a live notary via video. Customers can complete the process from their mobile device or computer, 24x7, and finally have the seamless, digital car buying experience they’re looking for.