The ongoing debate about whether buyers will eventually search for, locate and buy a car online without necessarily seeing and testing continues to divide the trade. Of course the companies which are gearing up for this will say that they make the process so user friendly that car buyers can feel totally confident that they are getting what they think they are.
The statistics regarding internet use in the UK make somewhat startling reading, According to Forrester Research By 2011 32 million UK consumers will be shopping online and the value of goods they buy online will add up to almost £52bn. Not only that by 2008 65% of the adult population in the UK were “online” and it is expected that 75% of homes will have broadband access by the end of 2010.
However although many consumers will now think nothing of spending large sums of money via the web there might still be a stumbling block to paying thousands for big ticket items such as cars.
Add to that the emotive nature of car ownership and I still feel we are a few years away from seeing a major distraction from traditional car sales outlets. It is no secret that one of the reasons that car supermarkets have become so successful (and there are many more of them) is because of similar parallels to internet buying, because it is time saving and convenient.
The fast pace of the modern world and the fact that we are all working seemingly that much harder to just live our lives and provide for our families means that our downtime is precious and therefore car supermarkets will virtually ensure that buyers can choose from literally thousands of models and touch feel and test them all at once. This cuts down the amount of time it takes to actually buy a car to a minimum and the fact that these venues continue to grow and multiply tells us that customers are comfortable with buying from there, even if it is by no means a perfect experience.
Things will without doubt change though and technology moves at such a pace that if you stop and think for a moment it can be pretty frightening. I think we all agree that long term the buyers of tomorrow will be very used to interacting via social media and will likely use the experience of friends and online buddies to empower themselves to buy without trying.
Let’s face it with the way technology is going you will virtually get inside a car on the net soon anyway and there are several forums available to find out as much info as you want about the quality of any product.
After all it all boils down to confidence, if companies can demonstrate they do exactly what they claim to do and resolve any disputes whilst keeping the customers faith intact, the message will spread and more people will consider this as a viable buying option.