How COVID-19 Is Transforming the Auto Sales Industry with Digital Car Dealerships

Woman with mark driving a car.

The Auto Sales Industry is finally bringing the car-buying experience online with digital car dealerships. All it took was a pandemic to shift the one purchasing experience with roots still in the 20th century online. 

The Rise of Digital Car Dealerships

The days of walking into a car dealership to buy a car and haggle over prices might be behind us. Face-to-face negotiations with a salesperson are still happening but over the phone or online. Moreover, test drives have become scarce. 

COVID-19 has changed how people buy or finance their car purchases, prompting dealerships to change how they engage with customers as well. Before the pandemic, operations such as finance, sales, and service transactions were mostly handled personally. The lockdown led to layoffs and a surplus of vehicles, which resulted in losses for manufacturers and car dealerships. 

While some in the auto industry had already laid out digital foundations, most of them weren’t prepared to solely use digital platforms for daily operations. Many companies embrace digital car dealerships since digital transformation in the auto industry has already been on the cards.

The idea of a digital car dealership is to use technology solutions to create a digital front of your traditional outlet. This includes developing a digital platform to showcase products, adopting different communication channels, and increasing digital marketing. Dealerships have enhanced the digital customer experience through:

  • Enhanced website experience
  • Improvements in digital retailing and services
  • Use of interactive consumer experiences

Adapting to Changing Consumer Behavior

We haven’t seen much change in the auto sales industry for ages in terms of traditions, regulations, and tactics. However, since the pandemic, dealers were forced to shut everything down and find solutions to declining sales and safety concerns. 

Here’s what has changed and how it could change car financing or purchase for good:

1. No-Pressure Buying

Since customers aren’t walking into dealerships like they used to, the lack of human interaction has taken the pressure off buyers, especially clever salesmen. If anyone needs help, they can choose to engage with a sales associate via call or live chat. 

2. Increased Demand for Video

Since the onset of COVID restrictions, there has been a significant boost in online traffic, specifically social media and business websites. Consumers have become accustomed to virtual hands-on reviews of products in the form of videos, and this is where the auto industry fell behind. 

Since customers are buying vehicles on digital car dealerships, dealerships have to step up their game on video platforms by producing in-depth videos of their cars and services.  

3. Solo Test Drives

For customers choosing to physically visit car dealerships, salespeople allow them to test drive cars on their own. By maintaining social distancing protocols such as wearing masks and maintaining six-feet distance, many dealerships continue to provide their services physically. Many dealerships are also offering at-home test drives as an alternative to visiting a dealership. 

Return to Normal?

It is hard to believe that the auto sales industry will go back to its traditional ways after so much progress. One thing is certain, though – the need for digital transformation. 

If you’re looking for more information on financing or ways to digitally transform your car dealership, we recommend you visit MyAutoLenders today.

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