Since the late 19th century, when cars were first manufactured and sold commercially, the car buyer customer journey has remained largely the same for almost 100 years.
Traditional car buyer customer journey
♦ Customers visited dealerships and talked directly with salespeople.
♦ Staff in dealerships answered questions and explained the benefits and features of different models of cars to clients.
♦ Clients had a test drive or went to another dealership until a car was purchased.
Traditionally, visiting a dealership was a nice way to spend Saturday with your family. Customers chatted with each other and preened information from salespeople.
Digital car buyer customer journey
Around the middle of the 1990s digital technologies started to penetrate our daily lives. Since then the car buyer customer journey has evolved.
In the digital era time means money and people want efficiency. According to recent research customers now start car shopping online, finding information and selecting cars that match their needs before going to a dealership.
Thanks to digital technology, customers have more options and are better informed about more than just the features and benefits associated with a car. Now they can find information about financing, paperwork requirements and home delivery.
Comparison websites and publicly available industry reports make research easy and increase transparency, meaning that customers are better equipped to find the best financing deal to suit them.
This shift away from the “one price, no hassle” concept is an indication of more changes that are on the horizon, as today’s car buyer looks for personalization and more engaging aftersales support.
The internet has changed everything. Industry expert Jeff Dyke says that now in the automotive industry “You’ve got to have a website that’s engaging. The pictures of the vehicles have to be spectacular.”
But the automotive industry is different from other online retail sectors. The classical buying process in online retail is where the client goes to a physical store to research and then purchases the product online (because of the price and delivery service). With cars the opposite is true.
Customers normally start the car buyer customer journey with advanced research on the Internet and only after this do they go to dealerships for a test drive and to finalize the purchasing process.
Due to this, in modern dealerships salespeople often have iPads or Tablets, making the purchasing process similar to the website transaction, closing the deal as fast as possible.
To be successful in selling cars online automotive companies can leverage disruptive omnichannel solutions like: live real time videos, interactive selling platforms, virtual showrooms, online chat and co-browsing.
Whisbi is the only company that integrates all of these into one solution, bringing the real showroom experience online.
Find out more about how one of our automotive clients has changed the car buyer customer journey and is now selling more.