Online shopping is becoming more popular with consumers. They can now buy everything from groceries to cars and couches online. We’re becoming more comfortable with online shopping partly out of necessity, but also because it’s so convenient and efficient.
But should you purchase a car online . Is the process too complex and personal for online shopping?
There are many pros and cons to purchasing a car online. Although history favors traditional car-buying in person, the future looks bright for online car-buying.
Let’s first define online car shopping before we discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
What it Means to Purchase a Car Online
Before we discuss the pros and cons to buying a car online let’s first define what online car shopping is.
A large majority of American consumers shop online when shopping for their next car. According to consumer behavior surveys, more than two-thirds (65%) of car-buyers now go online to search a car and compare models. They also use the internet to find out how much their vehicle is worth and calculate car loans . Social media is another way car shoppers use to find out more about cars and dealers. To communicate with dealers and get information, shoppers can also use the dealer website chat function.
These people might answer yes to your question if you ask them if they buy cars online. However, buying a car online is very different from shopping online. The strictest definition of online shopping is that a customer buys a car online if they are able to complete the transaction using the Internet.
It’s like buying a book, a throw rug or other items from Amazon or eBay. There is a greater chance of buyer’s regret if the item arrives in your driveway.
Used Cars and New Cars –
Many people think that new-car buyers are different than used-car buyers. One thing they have in common is their propensity for online research to find out more about vehicle and dealer options. A number of consumer behavior studies have shown that almost 75% of new-car buyers and used-car shoppers use apps and websites to do at least some research and shop.
Used-car buyers may find it easier to buy a car online. Vroom, Carvana and Shift are just a few of the online sellers that offer used cars.
They often stress that their clients can avoid going to a dealer or talking to a salesperson in their marketing messages. They are technically car dealers, but they do not actually sell cars. This is because almost all 50 states require that any business selling more than one vehicle per year must have a dealer’s license. Because of their online experience, online used-car sellers have changed the perception of them by the buyers.
Some individual dealers or dealer groups offer online car purchasing. They aim to offer the same transparency and ease as other online sellers of products to their customers. Customers can also access their traditional dealership services for test drives, service and comparison shopping.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Car online
Online car buying is a great way to save time. Many of us don’t want to spend a whole Tuesday or Saturday in a dealership trying to negotiate a deal. This traditional approach can lead to lengthy transactions between consumers and dealers. Neither side is happy. Online car-buying allows customers to do tedious tasks like filling out paperwork at their own pace.
Equally appealing to many car buyers is the no-negotiation/no-haggle nature of an online car deal. Prices are usually clearly displayed and updated automatically when consumers provide personal information about their credit history, trade in vehicle, preferred down payment and other details. The seller presents each customer with the same pricing and is usually non-negotiable. Many modern car buyers want that price to remain the same.
There is also no pressure to sell. A salesperson is not responsible for guiding the deal. Her or his livelihood and commission depend on the deals they make. Most dealers have someone on their staff who is concerned about these things but they do not get in touch with customers. Although many car salespeople are honest and pleasant, most Americans would rather not deal with them again.
Another advantage to online car-buying? You can shop for and purchase a car at any time that suits you best. You can even do it while riding a bike on your sweats if you wish. If you don’t feel like dealing with the process for too long, you can simply stop and grab the transaction thread when you are ready.
Online car shopping allows you to take delivery from anywhere in the world, including your home. A professional will deliver your vehicle and provide all the necessary information to help you operate your new vehicle properly.
The Cons of Buying a Car online
There are some negatives to purchasing a vehicle online. The most important thing is that you won’t be able to physically and visibly inspect the vehicle before purchasing it. Although most sellers offer detailed photos and videos of every vehicle, nothing can replace seeing it up close.
You may not have the opportunity to test drive the vehicle prior to purchasing it. Another disadvantage is that many people believe driving is believing. Online sellers have attempted to compensate by offering warranties on used cars and return policies to customers in the past. Online car sellers offer test drives at their convenience, at any time and anywhere you choose.
The relative inability of buying a car online means that you cannot negotiate terms or prices. While this is a good thing for many, it can also be a disadvantage for some. However, some smart negotiators may miss an opportunity to get a great deal or to believe they did.
One of the biggest disadvantages to purchasing a car online is limited financing options. The online sales process may limit your options for financing. You can obtain financing prior to the online shopping process, and then you can purchase the car as an “cash buyer”. This complicates an otherwise simple and efficient process.
Online car buying has one major disadvantage: the trade-in. The trade-in is a problem if you don’t want your car to sell quickly . It is hard to agree on the trade in value in an online buying situation. However, it is a fact that many people who have a trade in are buying cars online every day.