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Buying a Car in the Digital Age: The New Process

 By Contributing Author

Buying a new car is a big deal. For many consumers, the purchase of a new car may be the most substantial outlay they make over a long period of time. It’s no wonder then that modern shoppers tend to examine every element of a car purchase before they eventually pull the trigger. As such, the rise of the digital age has provided the average consumer with countless resources regarding cars, reviews, and car prices. Perhaps then it’s easy to understand why the already complex relationship between consumers and dealers is changing so quickly.

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The Issue of Trust

No one wants to get ripped off when it comes to buying or selling a car. As alluded to above, a car purchase is a big investment for most people. What’s more, the average person generally has a negative perception of car dealers. (See the results of this Gallup poll for proof.) In addition, consumers often find the process of buying a car undesirable; haggling isn’t something many people enjoy or are accustomed to. That’s why so many consumers are clamoring for online purchasing capabilities from dealerships. Still, despite the demand, most car dealerships themselves are reluctant to offer that service.

Adapting to New Generations

Eighty-five percent of Millennials consult online sites before making a decision to buy a car. Not only do young people review information about cars differently from their predecessors, but they also value cars differently as well. Unsurprisingly, many young shoppers desire cars with software capabilities. Still, there are other features that Millennials look for in cars that separate them from older shoppers, such as reliability and mobile adaptability. It’s worth considering for a moment that roughly 60% of Millennials can’t change a tire –– so in that context it makes more sense why the typical Millennial shopper prefers cars that offer tech updates and reliability as opposed to the power of muscle cars of the past.

In-Person Transactions

Just because modern car shoppers do a lot of research online first, doesn’t mean they completely eschew the idea of seeing a car in-person before buying it. In actuality, most shoppers will visit more than one dealership before they make a final decision. That’s one reason why professionals should prioritize car dealership design. After all, the more comfortable a customer feels at a location, the likelier they are to do business there. Though the digital age has transformed the way people research and think about cars, the actual sales process still relies heavily on forming a personal connection –– and establishing trust early on.



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