Now, more than ever, people rely on digital to make their purchasing decisions and check product information online before going into the store.
Did you know that 49% of consumers agree that they have done more shopping online in the past year?
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the growing preference for online shopping among car buyers as well. Compared to the pre-COVID period, online car sales increased by 645% in 2020, and that is understandable. Online shopping of cars eliminates most of the cumbersome hassles like visiting local dealerships, hours of negotiations, and lots of paperwork. Car buyers now expect digital interaction with the retail channel as part of their car purchasing journey.
Hence, businesses with physical locations like car dealerships need not only to provide customers with an online experience, for example via a website but also to make it trustworthy and transparent. That’s the basis for increasing consumer trust, website traffic and online sales.
Although this trend has already started, there is still a long way to go before it is fully consolidated. One of the most discouraging factors for car buyers is related to the lack of confidence online. There is a belief that potential problems are easy to conceal, or there is just not enough information available to confidently buy or reserve a vehicle online.
We would like to share four steps on how to overcome that uncertainty and increase consumer confidence online.
Step 1: Focus on the user experience
Make sure your online presence is user-friendly and let your website visitors browse all your cars in a comfortable and relaxed environment. Add distinctive elements to your website that help you simulate the physical showroom experience in your virtual dealership. High-quality imagery, chatbots, financial calculators, or popular payment platforms can boost the online experience ensuring every car buyer gets the service they need.
The more professional the user experience on your online presence is, the more likely it is that your website visitors will feel comfortable shopping there.
Step 2: Invest in quality content
Modern consumers require very detailed vehicle information online to build trust and credibility. 64% want extensive vehicle photos and data (Accelerating Sales in Digitally Disrupted Market, McKinsey&Company, 2019). They expect vehicle images to be clear, professional and to show the interior, exterior as well as any defects the vehicle may have.
Providing interactive 360° spins or videos, showing hotspots and revealing every detail or imperfection will help to boost your credibility and encourage your website visitors to interact with your online content for longer.
In fact, 80% of people thought 360° spins on a website reflect well on the dealer’s reputation (Homenet consumer study, 2019), and 56% of consumers could be convinced to buy a car from a 360° spin alone (Think with Google Study).
Step 3: Optimize your omnichannel presence
Your website should be considered an extension of your dealership. It is just one of the many channels where consumers can discover your vehicles and services and learn more about your company. It is a fundamental channel to show professionalism and transparency and thus gain the trust of users.
The key is to optimise online and offline channels to work together coherently and seamlessly, allowing potential customers to decide which offline or online channels, processes, or purchasing methods best suit their needs. Recent years have solidified this need for flexibility, as most consumers do not want all aspects of their purchasing processes to be digital or physical only.
The CarGurus Covid-19 Sentiment Study reveals that:
- 63% of consumers would prefer to complete more of their next vehicle buying process from home
- 38% would prefer to complete finance online and negotiate a price
- 32% would prefer to get a trade-in valuation online
So, it’s the mixture that makes it.
Step 4: Offer greater security with return guarantees
Finding the perfect car is one of the biggest purchases most people will ever make. So, the consumers need to be certain that they have made the right choice. Although sometimes the residual doubt remains.
However, 62% of buyers would be open to purchasing a car without test driving it if they were offered a 14-day money-back guarantee (Auto Trader, 2021).
Warranties help build consumer confidence and provide additional protection against any information that was not clearly understood online or other circumstances that may cause them to change their mind.
Consumer needs and expectations are always evolving. Keep reading our blog and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to be kept up to date on how you can continue to provide the best possible experience.