Posted: Wednesday 26th April 2017 in Retail Strategy, Thought Leadership.

Republished from Motor Trader, 26th April 2017

Consumer confidence in online shopping continues to rise, with fewer people feeling the need to physically view items before buying. Once limited to low value purchases, consumers are now prepared to part with large sums online.

A relatively new entrant to this ecommerce trend is automotive brands. There are now a number of major car manufacturers offering ecommerce options together with traditional dealerships.

These functions can be used alongside visits to a showroom, whether supplementing initial research or to make a purchase after a test drive. Whilst this technology offers a range of opportunities for those working in the industry, it will inevitably affect all those who play a part in car sales.

It is easy to see why buying cars online has been so well received by consumers. Ordering online often results in more choice; allowing customers to decide on colour, engine size and mileage without being limited to what is in stock at a particular showroom.

This technology can also offer the option of part-exchanging old vehicles and booking delivery slots, giving customers optimum flexibility.

In addition, it allows people to avoid arranging a visit to a dealership and negotiating face-to-face. Retailers across all sectors are under pressure to provide flexible online options which fit around the busy lifestyles of today’s consumer. However, a visit to a showroom may still result in the best price, and as of yet manufacturers are reluctant to undercut their dealerships.

We have reached an exciting time for the automotive industry, as both dealers and consumers adapt to this novel way of purchasing vehicles.

This may affect the responsibilities of a traditional dealer, but their critical role will not be replaced. It is about providing customers optimum choice, maintaining high standards at dealerships and providing the option of shopping online.

Those who embrace this technology and invest in the digital transformation that is required stand to gain a competitive edge over others who tread carefully.

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