As the founder of Shopstyle in the mid 2000s and now Founder and CEO of automotive ecommerce platform, Roadster, I have been involved in the evolution of ecommerce for some time. I have seen consumers go from skepticism – “I would never buy clothes without trying them on” – to acquiring most of their closet via online retailers. And now retail is the largest online purchase category in the world.
Fast forward to today, and people are buying all sorts of things online. In fact, I cannot walk into my house without tripping over an Amazon or Zappos box in the hallway. The refrigerator in my kitchen was ordered online via Best Buy and the chairs in my living room from Wayfair. Our expectation of what we can buy from the comfort of our homes keeps on growing.
“I just bought a car on the internet! I have seriously said those words about six dozen times in the last few days and I still have to pinch myself over how easy it all was.”
-Perry W, Los Angeles, CA
Still seem far fetched? Mobile shoppers disagree.
According to a recent Survata survey of 1,100+ consumers, 1 out of 3 mobile shoppers would consider buying a big ticket item, like a house or a car, on their smartphone. Drill down deeper and 50% of mobile car shoppers would consider buying their next car online.
So what is happening? There have been other attempts to sell new cars online– so why now?
Here are 7 compelling reasons that make this the moment for adoption:
- Over 60% of mobile shoppers have shopped for a car on their smartphone.
- 40% of shoppers who would not buy on their mobile device, still want elements of the process automated. Examples include product configuration, financing, service plan selection, and sales contract completion.
- Consumers are vocal about the conveniences they want the car industry to adopt. Everyone surveyed wanted the industry to adopt at least one of the following features: transparency, fixed pricing, home delivery, convenience and return policies.
- More and more car dealers are moving to one price models. While one price models are not required for ecommerce, the ability to share instant pricing openly and ensure manufacturer and regulatory compliance is simpler.
- Compressed margins are forcing dealers to rethink traditional sales approaches. The dealers we have spoken to know that there are a ton of benefits to the online shopper in increasing efficiencies.
- Dealers and Auto Manufacturers are building their own ecommerce tools. Large dealer groups like AutoNation and OEMs like Toyota are working on their own ecommerce solutions as we speak.
- The end to end ecommerce technology is now available. Even customers who want to go deep can jump offline, go to the dealership, or message a personal concierge, and then jump back in when they are ready to finish the transaction.
Sure, buying a car or a house is more complex than buying clothing, and not everyone in reality is going to buy 100% online. But now is the time to gain a competitive advantage and start offering these solutions to car buyers. It doesn’t mean they won’t come into the dealership – 87% of shoppers still want to kick the tires. And it doesn’t mean there won’t be questions along the way. Car shoppers will want to understand the deal in more detail, or understand how their credit score is impacting their finance rate. Fortunately, the platform to allow someone to complete this process from wherever they are is now here. Putting control in the customer’s hands is what ecommerce is all about. Are you ready?
Andy Moss is a successful serial entrepreneur with decades of experience and expertise in launching and running successful commerce and media start-ups, including ShopStyle, the leading fashion search engine, which was acquired by POPSUGAR; FabKids, an online children’s apparel company, which was acquired by JustFab; and Cairo, an online service for retail discounts. He is now the founder and CEO of Roadster, the leading ecommerce platform provider for the automotive industry, powering Express Storefronts for dealership retail sales.
To learn more, go to: roadster.com/dealersales