In recent years, consumers continued flocking to car dealerships, going for test drives, and walking around car lots to search for their perfect vehicle. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and showrooms were closed, sales teams were sent home, and consumers shifted their searches from in person to online. In fact, the automotive industry reported record profits in online car sales in 2020, with nearly 30% of all new car sales completed online. This shift to digital car sales has been extremely lucrative for companies like Carvana, who offer a complete car buying experience online. Many in the industry expect the online push to continue, which could change car buying forever. Studies have shown that consumers are drawn to online auto dealers for several reasons. Let’s take a closer look at how the pandemic has affected the car buying experience.
Consumers Felt Safer Shopping Online
When the novel coronavirus dealt its blow to our country, car dealerships across the country scrambled to look for ways to make the car buying process safer and easier. In the beginning of the pandemic, many physical dealerships were forced to close their showrooms, leaving few options for consumers other than online shopping. However, even as showrooms slowly began reopening their doors, many consumers still felt uneasy about the close contact involved in car buying. They hesitated to go inside showrooms and they certainly did not feel comfortable taking a test drive with a salesperson. As a result, many consumers opted for a contactless shopping experience and turned to online auto dealers such as Carvana to purchase their vehicle.
Companies Like Carvana Were Prepared for the Online Experience
Even though dealerships across the country were soon realizing that they had to offer a better online experience, they were way behind the curve compared to online experts like Carvana. While Carvana began offering a complete virtual experience years ago, most other commercial dealerships were lagging behind and still remained stubbornly low-tech. At the start of the pandemic,most dealerships did not have a very progressive online digital platform, which pushed online consumers to more experienced online dealers such as Carvana. Carvana already offered a slew of unique features including virtual test drives, capability to browse inventory, and even easy ways for consumers to apply for credit and choose payment options online. Furthermore, they even offered “touchless” pickup and delivery options.
Online Car Buying is a Simpler Process
As a result of the pandemic, more and more people are turning to online auto dealers and they are finding the process to be simpler, faster, and more convenient. People love the convenience of shopping online from the comfort of their homes and not having to deal with the stress of a pushy salesperson. They also have access to a larger selection of vehicles online and can quickly and easily find the make and model they want. Thanks to innovative technology prospective buyers can even take virtual test drives, sign paperwork, and arrange delivery of their new vehicle right from their computer or mobile device. In short, consumers can achieve the same results in less than an hour that they could from spending an entire Saturday on a car lot.