Read an interesting article on TalkingMotors regarding the rising use of the Internet for car buyers.
“Car buyers across the globe are using the internet more than ever before when it comes to researching a vehicle purchase.”
It comes as absolutely no surprise to the trade. Most modern car dealers, independent or otherwise, pour most of their marketing budgets into internet advertising. There may be some regional newspaper advertising but companies are constantly upgrading their websites to increase traffic in the showrooms.
It was once said that the internet was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to the motor trade. The best because a car dealer can reach out to many more prospective customers nationally, can immediately update the information for each car and give a detailed description with multiple pictures of many cars, something you just don’t get with newspaper/magazine advertising. The worst because a customer can get all the information they need and be completely informed and prepared before having to contact a dealer and can use this information to play one dealer off against another.
The statistics speak for themselves, however and the internet is now such a powerful medium that cars without images do not even get a look from the majority of potential customers. The knock-on effect of this means the pressure to keep the website both up to date, constantly adding new stock and analysing and adjusting prices is immense. Indeed in some areas there is an internet “war” between dealers stocking similar cars desperate to keep car prices competitive and battling (in the same way as on Google) to be listed on the first page of search results on the stock listing sites.
This in turn is leading to erosion in profits set against an upturn in potential used car volumes, but perhaps most importantly this leads to a better deal for the consumer.
The internet has changed things considerably for the car buyer too, what used to take a customer a whole weekend of trawling from showroom to showroom can now be cut to a morning or afternoon if they have half an idea of what type of car they want to buy.
The power of internet advertising will only increase in the coming years and, as we have seen many customers are so impressed with the content they are increasingly happy to leave large deposits on cars they may not have even driven on the strength of the information they view online.
So how long will it be that a customer does not even need to enter a showroom to buy a used car?
Anyone for interactive test drives?