The Car Industry & eCommerce – Will it Work?

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The Car Industry & eCommerce – Will it Work?

Today, the modern consumer can purchase almost anything they want online with a simple click of a button.

However, despite the many changes and innovations occurring in the digital space, there’s still one thing many haven’t gotten to purchase – a car.

Many admit buying big-screen TVs and other electronics online in past Cyber Monday promotions. But have they ever thought about buying an automobile online?

Used Cars Vs. New Cars

Most consumers prefer buying used cars over new ones due to the prohibitive costs of a new model. Additionally, the value gap between the two continues to widen annually.

For example, a few years ago, opting to buy a used car over a newer release would help a buyer save tens of thousands of pounds. And the gap in the savings made has only risen since then.

Many eCommerce experts agree that buying a lightly used product online with comparable performance to a new one can assist customers in saving thousands of pounds.

But it’s a new ball game altogether when it comes to selling cars, particularly used cars online. Selling used vehicles using eCommerce portals presents unique challenges.

Are UK Customers Ready to Start Buying Cars Online?

Today’s customers are looking for a seamless and positive experience when making a purchase decision. It’s something that extends to the car industry as well.

Surveys have shown that 83% of consumers believe that eCommerce buying technology can help them narrow down their options and settle on what’s affordable.

Savvy car dealers selling used cars online have seen the need to provide innovative eCommerce solutions. These solutions enable shoppers to view the vehicle’s interior and exterior.

Some have gone ahead to include overlays that highlight flaws or dings you need to see before buying. Although it’s still new, the model has proven highly disruptive.

It’s interesting and offers unrivaled user convenience.

The main challenge is the ‘old-school shoppers’ who still believe in getting to kick the vehicle’s tires before they can drive it out of the lot.

What Has Helped the Car Industry Succeed in eCommerce So Far?

The car industry has undergone some major changes in the past decade, thanks partly to the rise of social media and the widespread use of the internet.

Used car dealers have had to learn how to integrate online and physical shopping experiences to remain relevant as more consumers begin making purchase decisions online.

So, what’s driving the increased use of eCommerce when shopping for used cars?

Millennials Have Taken Over the Consumer Market

In a few years, the automotive consumer market will largely be made up of millennials. It’s estimated that their buying power will continue to rise, like that of past generations wanes.

Simply put, millennials aren’t just looking to buy household commodities online. Instead, they want to shop for everything online, including cars.

Soon, this generation will make up a large portion of the car buyers in the UK.

Social Media Has Become an Important Tool for Connecting with the Market

A shopper looking for suggestions on which car to buy today will most likely turn to her network on social media for recommendations.

Millennials are surprisingly comfortable and familiar with technology, helping explain why they’re always looking to explore what the internet has to offer.

It’s a generation that increasingly turns to Facebook and other social networks for input and ideas on what to buy.

However, it’s a situation that’s not unique to millennials as more and more people turn to social networking to connect with family, colleagues, and acquaintances.

It’s No Longer Enough for a Company to Have a Website

While it’s important to have a social media presence, car dealerships have to do more than merely create a page for their dealership and leave it at that.

The increased use of personalization tools means auto companies have to customize their business messaging to reach different market segments.

‘Buy online, and make pick up at the store’ has also continued to be a significant cornerstone of the online automotive industry.

It’s a strategy commonly employed by mobile publishers who are always on the lookout for more accurate and sophisticated targeting of potential shoppers.

The strategy also helps in driving online traffic to traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships. According to Google, there are five moments when a dealership can engage a car buyer:

  1. Which vehicle is best?
  2. Is the car right for me?
  3. Can I afford to buy this car?
  4. Where should I buy it?
  5. Am I getting a good deal?


Soon, the car industry will need to shift its focus to the buying power held by the millennials to succeed.

Millennials represent a generation that spends most of its waking hours online engaging with contacts over social networks.

The car industry will need to engage this generation further to harness its buying power by understanding how to use the readily available platforms.

This article was written by Patrick Barry of VRT.ieThe go-to experts in the Car importation field. Be it importing a motor from the UK to Ireland or needing the assistance of a Customs Clearance Agent, VRT is here to help.

The Car Industry & eCommerce – Will it Work?