Technology is changing the retail industry fast. Today, you can purchase almost everything online quickly and easily. But the auto retail industry is lagging slightly behind because people haven’t gotten used to buying cars online. That said, the industry isn’t where it was a decade ago as much of the buyer’s journey takes place online.
Technology has changed how the modern car buyer gets information and tech-savvy auto retailers now offer customized experiences. Customer service has also taken center stage. Technology is reshaping the car-buying experience in several ways.
- Bringing Information Closer to the Customer
We are in the age of social media, and your favorite car dealer knows it. According to a recent study, 63% of car buyers use social media to select a dealership, and the numbers keep growing. Because of this, car retailers are now focusing on growing their online presence on popular sites like Instagram and Facebook. They bring information closer to their audience and also market their products.
Auto retailers are advertising more on social media and adopting conversational sales. This sales approach allows dealerships to engage with potential customers via online tools and avoid friction points such as request forms. Dealerships are also adjusting their websites to simplify the browsing experience for visitors. Many auto dealers are adopting Omni-channel marketing strategies to keep in touch with prospects every step of the way.
- An Improved Shopping Experience
Thanks to technology, dealerships are now doing more than availing the information car buyers need to make a buying decision. Some dealerships are creating a virtual showroom experience, allowing buyers to shop for cars from wherever they are.
A virtual showroom app features car inventories and almost everything else found in physical showrooms. It allows a potential car buyer to go for a virtual test drive, take a closer look at the car's interior and exterior, and even pack it in their driveway--virtually, of course.
Auto retailers are also using Augmented Reality to help car buyers examine cars at close range. The experience is fun and helps them to quickly make up their minds about which car to buy--and where to buy it.
- Car Buyers Can Now Shop, Get Financing, and Buy Cars Online
The car-buying process is complicated, and the research process alone can overwhelm anyone. But digital tools are gradually eliminating the hectic processes related to car-buying. They aggregate data across auto industry platforms and fintech companies to remove the friction in pre-approvals and car financing.
Ford and Alibaba have used the concept before, but it's not fully fine-tuned. In the future, when digital tools become fully operational, you will be able to order a car the way you order your favorite pizza. The car-buying process will be faster, more convenient, and transparent.
Technology Enhances the Experience for Everyone
Technology is changing the automotive space for the better. Car buyers are now able to shop for cars online and dealers are extending their services beyond physical locations--and building brand loyalty online.
Change is happening fast, and online car-buying may be a reality sooner than we think. Auto manufacturers and dealers who embrace this change will gain the most.