Cox Automotive conducted its Future of Digital Retail Study and released its findings. Results showed that the current model for dealership needs improvement when it comes to consumer preferences. That being said, the dealership remains crucial to car buying. The disconnect lies here: Most consumers prefer completing at least one step of the process online, while most car buyers would rather complete the transaction at the dealership.
On the digital front, 71% of consumers want to get accurate, detailed information on the deal online and 83% of consumers want to complete at least one purchase activity online. Consumers indicate they want to complete a majority of the legwork before they enter the dealership. They want to agree on an accurate price that does not change later in the process, understand and select add-ons and warranties, agree on a trade-in value and other costs ahead of time, reducing – or eliminating – the time necessary to negotiate the final purchase price in-store.
The average buyer currently spends three hours at the dealership during a car purchase, with 90 minutes spent on negotiating the financial details1. Consumer satisfaction with how long the process takes at the dealership continues to decrease, dropping from 55% in 20162 to 46 percent in 20183.
On a parallel track, the dealership is important for consumers in both initial research and final purchase processing. Nearly nine in 10 respondents want to complete their purchase at the dealership; only 11% of consumers want to review and sign paperwork online away from the dealership. However, Cox Automotive research shows a growing percentage of people are interested in completing the entire purchase online in the future.
The dealership continues to have a significant role. Eight in 10 consumers would never purchase a car without a test drive and seven in 10 would never purchase a car without physically seeing it first, even if a condition report is offered – both activities typically conducted at a dealership. The survey also indicates that most car shoppers want dealership staff to be valuable consultants during the process, especially for learning about the individual products, features, and vehicle capabilities.
"The results of our study show that the most successful dealers are the ones who offer a connected in-store and online experience, where consumers start car-buying activities online and seamlessly finish them at the dealership," said Mike Burgiss, vice president of Digital Retailing at Cox Automotive. "Importantly, a more efficient process is not only better for consumers, it's better for dealers as well."
The study concluded that 85% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a particular dealership that allows them to start or complete the purchase online. Consumers are right to expect this flexible, seamless car-buying experience both online and in the dealership, considering the many options in retail offered by other industries today.
SOURCE Cox Automotive
Edited by Victoria Haviland