November 5, 2020

Shifting to Digital

NAC Blog
NAC Blog

Shifting to Digital

It’s safe to say that 2020 will be a year that industry veterans remember keenly, for better or worse. The year brought challenges that seemed insurmountable, yet the industry rose to the challenge and made it through. Some of the many changes made out of necessity will stick around. Among them? Virtual transactions and remote delivery to consumers. As the nation braces for a likely resurgence of the coronavirus this winter, dealers who have made the shift to online vehicle purchase and home delivery are better positioned to meet their customers’ needs—now, and in the future.

The incredible speed with which some stores implemented online shopping capabilities earlier this year was impressive in an industry not known for its nimbleness. Their fast-tracking paid off, enabling sales to continue even as the virus kept people close to home. Even after the worst of the first wave, many consumers were—and remain—keen to minimize time spent inside stores of any kind, dealerships included. Recent studies show that the desire for remote vehicle purchasing functionality and home delivery service among consumers remains high.

An August 2020 survey by DealerRater found that around 20% of consumers polled had completed a vehicle-buying transaction with a dealership that included taking delivery of their new vehicle at home. While 20% of the 10,000+ people surveyed may not sound like much, even more respondents noted that they would engage in this type of transaction if their local dealership(s) offered it. The would-be online shoppers totaled a whopping 60% of responses. Another survey, this time by Cars.com, found that over half (57%) of the respondents had completed most of their vehicle shopping process entirely online with their dealer. Like the Dealer Rater study, theCars.com survey also found that consumers were more inclined to shop with a dealership that offered them this option.  

That’s not to say that dealerships aren’t rising to the occasion: Cars.com conducted a pair of dealer surveys which showed a 35% increase in the number of responding stores offering home delivery between March and August 2020. With 66% of responding stores offering homedelivery, it’s clear that dealers are as eager to respond to the needs of their consumers as ever. Even so, that leaves plenty of stores that still need to adapt and find a way to offer consumers the shopping experience they want and need.

The prospects of home delivery and online shopping still represent a critical opportunity for dealers: those that can offer a pleasant and early-to-market online shopping experience featuring homedelivery in their sales area will be top-of-mind for those consumers seeking to buy a car without leaving home, driving new business and building a store’s brand in a positive way. This is particularly critical as the nation braces for a rough winter with respect to COVID-19.

Is your dealership shifting some of the sales process online?

Make sure you take advantage of National Auto Care’s product videos to help you sell more F&I products digitally!

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