Death of the Dealership – Online Car Sales Surge in Popularity
Vast lots of brand-new vehicles stretch as far as the eye can see. A glass-fronted building gleams in the afternoon sun and reveals the latest car and truck models from top brands. Overhead flies a gigantic American flag, and salespeople with wide smiles and dealmaking on their minds rush out to meet you. Visiting car dealerships has been part of the automotive industry sales landscape for generations. However, today’s increased interest in online shopping, the convenience of product delivery, and dissatisfaction with high-pressure tactics have shifted the focus of the entire industry to the Internet age.
Why Do People Dislike Car Dealerships So Much?
When most people think about car dealerships, they cannot help the stressful feelings that arise. This may be due to the fact that buying a car is often seen as a high-pressure experience. Car dealerships generally focus on making a sale for as much money as possible. Even people who know a lot about the make and model they want to buy and up with questions that no one wants to answer. Additionally, many people feel that dealerships are designed to take advantage of customers. Negotiations are uncomfortable, and you may end up feeling like you could have gotten a better deal elsewhere.
Even if you do not experience such a negative reaction to car dealerships, visiting multiple ones, walking through the vast lots, and talking to multiple people about your options takes a lot of time. People are very busy these days and convenience wins out in any shopping experience. People are also much more likely to do all their shopping online and expect to find the information they need to make a smart purchase at their fingertips.
Car Sellers Keep Up With the Changing Face of Retail
Of course, not all dealerships are disappearing. People still want to kick a few tires, sit behind the wheel, and even take test drives. Major car manufacturers like Honda, for example, are rethinking the entire experience to create a more modern and comfortable method of shopping for your next vehicle. They plan to minimize office space, reduce lot size and therefore on-hand inventory, and shift most marketing and transactions to the online world.
If you have shopped for a new or preowned car during the pandemic, you are more likely to see empty spaces in the dealership lots and reductions in both staffing and customer service amenities. If you just want to buy a car, these things do not affect the process at all. It is more about information, great photos and videos, the opportunity to get financing on parts, services, and vehicles, and clear and easy communication with the sellers
What You Can Expect From Online Car Shopping
Both buyers and dealerships benefit from a shift to digital shopping and car ordering experience. Car companies like Honda, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW allow for online customization of your perfect vehicle. Then, the company can deliver it straight to your door just like a pizza, your groceries, or any other type of retail package. Similar levels of convenience are also available now for regular maintenance and repairs. You do not have to drive your car back to the dealership to get an under-warranty upgrade or parts replacement.
As a whole, car dealerships as you know them are not going to disappear anytime soon. If you are the type of person who loves to walk the aisles and read MSRP stickers on the windows, you can still have that opportunity. However, as an ever-increasing consumer base wants the simple and accessible online researching and buying process, the automotive industry will continue to change. For now, expect a hybrid of both Internet-based and face-to-face car shopping methods.