These days, it seems like you can buy just about anything online—well, almost anything. Right now, you probably wouldn’t purchase a new vehicle over the Web. In due time, though, online vehicle sales could become fairly common—and when that day comes, it will change the auto sales industry as we know it.
Online Auto Sales Are Coming
For years now, there have been forecasts about the coming online auto sales revolution—but so far, none of those predictions have quite panned out. Now, though, industry analysts say that dealerships are within a year or two of being able to conduct vehicle transactions online.
“That includes pitching finance and insurance products and getting electronic signatures on key documents,” an article from Automotive News states. “There are even online leasing apps popping up, too.”
Just how pervasive will online vehicle sales be? According to the article, a day will come when millions of consumers purchase vehicles using online technology. And according to some experts, we’ll see serious movement in that direction by the end of 2017.
Big Changes for Dealerships
“Automakers and dealers are making significant investments in the technology to enable consumers to do most — and someday, all — of a vehicle purchase online,” the article states. “Those dealers who lag behind will have to catch up or face a fate similar to that of independent bookstores in the wake of Amazon, industry experts say.”
That’s not to say that dealers who lag behind won’t have ways to catch up, though. Some dealerships may pioneer online sales technologies, but others will be able to jump on the bandwagon in due time.
Additionally, an investment in digital marketing will make it more feasible for dealerships to become competitive online. Facebook advertising and SEO will play a bigger role in automotive marketing than ever before, helping dealerships attract online consumers and stand out from the other dealerships. Dealerships looking to get in on the ground floor with all of this will do well to invest in strong websites and in basic digital marketing strategies sooner rather than later.
Uncertainty in the Auto Industry
It’s worth noting that not all experts see online sales transactions being viable in the near future. “Some dealers say completing a car transaction online is years away because valuing a trade-in, arranging financing and complying with regulations make it too complex,” states the Automotive News article. “Others warn that online deals open the door to cybercrime.” There are also concerns that F&I products would taper off without the boost of a face-to-face pitch.
Increasingly, though, these are minority voices—and it’s hard to imagine consumers being anything less than thrilled over the prospect of completing a vehicle transaction online. Dealerships should at least brace for the possibility that online auto sales are coming, and coming soon. To help prepare for the transition, we invite you to contact Get My Auto for an automotive marketing consultation today!