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Bill Soule

Bill Soule Digital & Social Marketing

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Video: How Has Technology Changed Car Buying?


Vinadvisor is excited to kick of the digital video series Your Turn To Drive with our inaugural episode How Has Technology Changed Car Buying? Jim Dykstra, founder of vinadvisor, has teamed up with Joe Webb of DealerKnows Consulting and Shawn Ryder of D2C Media to discuss the challenges facing the car industry due to rapid digital expansion in the online auto space.

Statistics are pouring into the car industry that spell out exactly how the public feels with the car buying process, specifically car buying online.  In 2015 Accenture consucted a survey of 10,000 consumers in eight countries finding:

  • 80% of shoppers looking to purchase a new vehicle use some form of technology
  • 75% would consider making their entire car buying process online
  • 69% have either bought a car online or would consider doing so

Jim Dykstra of vinadvisor agreed, stating: 

While the internet has simplified many of our most complex tasks and purchases, it has not had nearly the same impact on auto retailing. Turbo Tax allows 30 million people plus to accurately prepare and file their federal and state income tax returns. Online brokerages like ETRADE gives millions of consumers to data and tools they need to buy, sell and manage their own investments. Stub Hub makes it easy to buy or sell tickets to sporting events, concerts and more.

The burden is now on the dealers to catch up to both emerging technology and the public's willingness to use it in order to keep themselves relevant and not lose large percentages of their business to online upstarts.  According to Joe Webb, dealers have been too slow to recognize this:

The glut of consumer-facing information regarding product, process and pricing available to online shoppers has both benefitted the dealer/customer relationship and harmed it. We were once an industry built on cultivating relationships that stemmed from emotional decisions. Researched (and overly-researched) shoppers have caused it to be more transactional in nature. Online resource sites have required dealers (hopefully) to step up their game when it comes to product knowledge, merchandising, and pricing transparency. Consumers are making decisions often from their online findings rather than their in-store experiences, which requires dealers to improve themselves in two arenas now, online and the showroom floor. It's what consumers expect, and what dealers are constantly struggling to deliver.

Shawn Ryder expanded on Webb's comment

The bar keeps getting set higher for the dealership! With constant turnover with the sales team - customers enter the dealership know more about the vehicle they are coming to see than the actual salesperson does on the floor. Imagine a new hire (green pea) meeting a customer on the lot that has seen every YouTube video, spec sheet and review available on the tips of their fingers.

With so much information available to the modern car shopper the question remains, what can dealerships do to take advantage of the online car buying revolution?


For more information:

Check out our tools for car buying online

Download our free car buying checklist

How does car leasing work?

Your Turn To Drive is produced by Digital Video Syndicate specializing in automotive branded content

Bill Soule

Having seen the reluctance of dealers to embrace new technology, I think in-market car shoppers will do the vast majority of their research online if not make the purchse.  it's just getting too convenient to avoid teh dealership.

Chris K Leslie

I think it's interesting you don't have anyone in that video that is actually selling cars at a dealership. 


Bill Soule

Chris - They have extensive experience working in dealerships, but I'd love to hear your perspective on the question.

Shawn Ryder

Hey Chris - up until about a month ago was in retail and had been for a year, back on the vendor side now - so familar with customers that had done their homework before hitting the dealership. Based on your experience - what can dealers do to ensure they are doing a great job online? 

Bill Soule

Shawn - Definitely liked your comments about the need for a top down strategy to give the people on the dealership floor what they need to engage with a customer that is much more informed these days.

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