Dealer Handbook 101: Buying A Car Online
September 16, 2020
Buying a car in-person can be a long and, quite frankly, annoying process. Few people can say they actually enjoy going to a dealership.
The long negotiations with a salesman, possible hours of waiting for financing and processing paperwork, and walking through a dealership to look at and test drive several cars to find the right one can overwhelm and turn off many potential buyers.
Today, the Internet and technology have completely transformed the car buying process and consumers now have the option of buying a car online.
Now, shoppers can get all the information they need without even having to step foot into a dealership.
Buying a car online is becoming easier and easier and will likely be the preferred way to shop for a vehicle in the future. Because of this trend, more and more consumers are doing the research before the buying process even begins, and they are becoming more knowledgeable about the vehicles they are shopping for.
This can make a dealer’s job even easier as working with knowledgeable shoppers means you can have a more meaningful selling experience. On the other hand, you might come across prospective car buyers or leasers who are jumping into the online car shopping experience blindly.
Common questions that car shoppers might be asking themselves are:
- Which car is best?
- Which car is right for me?
- Can I afford it?
- Am I getting a deal?
- Where should I buy it?
Guiding your client virtually can help them get the answers they need and help you guarantee a sale.
Which car is best?
Figuring out which car can best suit your client’s needs takes some research and time. Your buyer might be eyeing a few options already but are not quite sure which make and model would be best.
Generally, buyers already have an idea of what they might be looking for before they even get in contact with you. However, you might get a few who have not done any research or are in need of a vehicle as soon as possible.
Assisting them in the research stage of the car buying experience can help give you a leg up and is an opportunity to educate yourself on what is currently available on the market.
Quite often consumers are concerned with:
- Fuel mileage
- Ease of operation
- Safety features
Providing this information upfront online can help your client become more knowledgeable and confident in your credibility.
That being said, the “best” car out there might not necessarily be the “best” car for your client. What you need to focus on is understanding what your client is actually looking for and know which car features will fit their needs.
Which car is right for me?
Buyers are often searching for a car that will fit their lifestyle but also their budget. Dealerships today need to be interacting and communicating with buyers before they even come into the showroom.
Providing information and a truly immersive online shopping experience can help buyers easily figure out which car is right for them. Along with including detailed photos and information about each vehicle, dealers can also bring the experience of shopping at a dealership to their buyers virtually.
Buyers want to know more and more about the vehicle they are purchasing and to do so from the comfort of their own home can help you make a sale right away.
A virtual showroom can help clients find the right car for them and guarantees a sale for dealers. Virtual showrooms are now much more than a gallery full of photos.
Thanks to A.I. companies such as RelayCars, dealerships can now give clients a more in-depth and detailed look of vehicles online.
Virtual reality showrooms can give buyers the experience of actually being inside the car without even having to go to a dealership. They can find the right car for them and explore a vehicle’s interior and features all from home.
Virtual reality showrooms are truly the key factor in setting your dealership apart from the many different online auto shops. Your buyer is likely looking for a car that not only has all the right features they want but also the price that they want.
Can I afford it?
Once a buyer finds the right vehicle for them, the next step is to find the right price point. Some buyers might even start the process in reverse. They may have a set budget in mind then use that as the basis for their search for the right car.
Understanding what an online car buyer is looking for in terms of financing can help you determine what tools and information they may need. Dealers should then include the information on their virtual showroom site.
A monthly payment is often not the only financial woe that online buyers are considering. When it comes to a car budget many salesmen only think of what the buyer will be spending for the vehicle itself.
However, remember, today’s online shoppers are more knowledgeable and want to know potential repair costs, maintenance, and gas mileage. They want to know not just the actual value of the car but also what they will likely be spending on the vehicle in the long run.
Of course, a big part of the car buying process for a buyer is getting a good deal on a vehicle. You will likely come across very few buyers who are willing to pay the presented price on a vehicle.
However, in a virtual buying experience it can be difficult to implement the same negotiation tools and processes without meeting in person. So how can you help your buyer get the best deal for them and for you in an online experience?
Am I getting a deal?
Even after finding the right car and maybe even with the right price point, buyers still want to make sure they are getting the best deal they can find.
Making sure you are advertising your promos and offers on your website and virtual showroom can help you attract more buyers. If you are working with an online buyer, you can offer to have a virtual appointment with them to discuss promos and negotiations.
This can also give you a chance to provide a personal touch to the online shopping experience.
Including features such as a car calculator or leasing calculator to your virtual showroom can give your buyers an idea of what they could be saving and spending on a vehicle and gives them a base price to start off negotiations.
Where should I buy it?
Online car buyers are likely not like your average shoppers that walk into a dealership. These clients are smart, tech savvy, and knowledgeable. Most likely they are not in a rush to purchase and want to spend enough time researching and making their decision. This means dealers need to provide ample information and be just as informed as they are.
Buyers online are more careful and thoughtful before committing and signing. Often they will check various dealers online before contacting a dealership. So, how can you make sure that you are attracting online shoppers?
First, by providing online features that can help them become informed about the vehicle they are shopping for. As mentioned, having more than a gallery of photos can set you apart from other online dealerships.
A virtual showroom can entice and impress potential buyers. They are able to view the car as if they are actually at the dealership, but they are at the comfort of their own home.
Second, dealers should still create a personalized experience online by providing chat options on the virtual showroom so shoppers can still talk to a salesperson online.
Dealers can even take it a step further and video chat with shoppers in order to show them the car online and shoppers can request specific angles or footage of the vehicle they are potentially buying.
Finally, being transparent with your potential buyers can help build that same rapport and credibility that you build in person. Your virtual showroom should still provide as much information as possible for your shopper to be well informed. The site should also include information about vehicle costs as well as loan and payment information.
Selling Online Brings Profits
Ultimately, selling online can completely revolutionize how your dealership does business and can help to improve sales. Remember, online car buyers are well-informed and careful about their purchases, which actually means they are likely to be more committed to signing once they find the right vehicle for the right price.
Providing an online experience that replicates a visit to the dealership through a virtual showroom can help them make an informed decision and helps you lock in a sale.
Companies like RelayCars can provide an interactive online shopping experience for buying a car online that can even exceed the in-person environment. You can interact with buyers from all over the world and provide an overall experience that can enhance the online buying experience for clients.