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How the Online Car Buying Changed the Dealership Industry



How the Online Car Buying Changed the Dealership Industry

In just a decade or so, the whole process of buying a car changed in a dramatic fashion. Nowadays you are able to find a vehicle in another state, send someone to check it on the spot, buy it online and have it delivered right at your doorstep by a car shipping company. How has that become possible? The answer is quite simple: because of the boom of the Internet and digitalization of commerce.

The modernization, based on the newest technologies, compelled the dealership industry to change from top to bottom. The car buyer of today wants a faster, safer and smoother process of acquiring his new vehicle and the dealers have adapted to it. Read this text and you will know how they managed to do that.

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How We Used to Buy Cars vs. How We Do It Today

Years ago the process of buying a vehicle was way simpler. We started with a research, then went to a dealership and had a car salesman showing us 4-5 vehicles for up to a full working day of 8 hours. We used to ask him a lot of questions concerning the model and its amenities. Finally we made a decision and eventually became car owners.

Today the process is completely different and much more fluent. We receive instant information on all the vehicles we are interested in and we are able to compare their characteristics and price in a matter of seconds. And we spend 2 hours at most at a dealership in order to finish a purchase.

The main reason for this enormous change is the rise of mobile devices. Today over 2/3 of car buying happens through them because the average American is able to research vehicles 24/7 and do it anywhere. A huge transparency exists in terms of pricing, so if a dealership doesn’t give you a price you found online, it will likely lose you as a buyer. Now you hold all the aces, not the seller, and the old tricks don’t work anymore.

The Buyer of Today Has More Info as a Start

A lot of people still purchase their cars at dealerships but the decision-making happens mostly before that and online. According to Google, twice as many do that on the Internet in comparison with researching at a dealer.

Another interesting stat: 42% of buyers know the exact vehicle they want even before entering into a dealership and 32% know exactly from which one they will purchase. So now dealerships don’t just sell cars – they sell their brand as a whole.

We should note that 56% of the car buyers of today obtain their information from third-party sources (such as Edmunds and TrueCar) and not as much from the dealerships and brands. On top of that, they are visiting an average of 4.2 websites and multiple devices during the whole process.

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Maximum Transparency Is Required in Terms of Pricing

As car buyers of today research more online, they look out for as much information as possible and that includes the pricing. The stats show that a staggering 80% of them start the process with looking at prices and that about 40% transparency is provided by most websites.

These facts make the dealerships deliver top quality and mobile responsive websites, so they are able to beat the competition in the areas where they operate. Moreover, by showcasing their inventory through a user-friendly platform like, dealerships can further enhance customer engagement and drive sales with an online presence that mirrors their commitment to excellence.

Maximum transparency is also required of the auto transport companies whose role is to carry out the last step of the car buying process – the shipping. When you research them today, you get a clear quote and it is very easy to compare the rates of all the competitors on the market.

Basically, in modern times everyone wants a good deal and knows how to get it. For that reason, there is no need for dealerships and car transport companies to try hiding any information in terms of pricing.

Buyers Visit Fewer Dealerships

Some more interesting stats. On average, Americans get in contact with 3.1 dealerships, set their foot into 2.1 of them and take only 1.6 test-drives before making a final decision on buying a car. These numbers confirm what we said in the paragraphs above: the car buyer of today has already a clear idea what he will purchase even in the initial phase of the online research. He knows exactly the make and model of the vehicle. He already presumes the dealership he is going to buy from too and, if it is located far away, the car shipping company he is going to hire.

The Bottom Line

This is why the dealership industry nowadays is directing its efforts towards becoming more and more transparent and trustworthy. It is achieved by providing a positive online experience with exposing all the information that car buyers need. Focusing on mobile devices, virtual reality, digital and video marketing – these are the means the industry uses to make the purchasing process engaging, enjoyable and interactive.


The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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