Exploring the Digital Transformation of the Business of Selling Cars

Dec 30, 2020 03:43 PM EST | Ernest Hamilton

Exploring the Digital Transformation of the Business of Selling Cars


(Photo : Exploring the Digital Transformation of the Business of Selling Cars)

The digital transformation of the world has affected nearly every part of our lives and has become more and more important in how we buy vehicles. A recent study Auto Trader by auto trader shows that the proportion of people willing to complete a car purchase online has risen from 37% of vehicles sold in August 2019, to 41% of vehicles sold in 2020 to date. This number goes up to 61% when people are asked if they would consider buying their car online and having it delivered to them within a week. 

A story in Motor Trader shows that not only are car purchases more important that ever, but many tasks associated with car ownership are being increasingly done online. Increasingly, consumers are willing to complete these tasks with minimal if any human interaction. Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence have made it easier for bots to pass as human and be more persuasive, negating the need for actual human interaction. 

So, we see mundane tasks such as checking availability, and sourcing insurance costs, becoming the domain of the digital world, and consumers eager to handle more complex tasks online, for example, arranging the delivery or collection of cars, exploring financing for a car, or agreeing on its price. 

This, as Motor Trader reminds us, is part of a long-trend toward shifting tasks online. People have already been estimating costs, fooling around with different car features, and looking at different car features. Clearly, many people want online services to handle as much of the car procurement process and tasks associated with car ownership. In fact, it seems that what stops people from doing more tasks online is that either people do not know that they can complete certain tasks online, or that option is not available to them. For instance, many consumers in Auto Trader's study showed a willingness to estimate part-exchange values, with 33% saying as much; many want to be able to understand the total costs (36%); negotiate on price (35%); or to manage their finances (32%) from the comfort and safety of their home. The ceiling is at present defined by opportunity and that opportunity's visibility. 

Not only do consumers find that they do not have the opportunity to handle tasks online, many find the available options overly complex. 41% of the 1500 buyers surveyed by Auto Trader found that trying to confirm part-exchange values online was incredibly difficult, or, at best, just plain difficult to complete, with 43% saying the same of tasks associated with checking finance options. So, for example, often, a consumer would not know where to begin to know how to use your car to get money with a car title loan

Digital retailing is the future and the digital transformation brought about by Covid-19 will only accelerate this trend. With people weary about face-to-face contact, and businesses shifting toward remote work, the appetite for online services will increase and many car dealers and businesses in the automobile sector, will offer more and more options for consumers to conduct tasks online. The digital transformation makes it easier for the industry to improve the customer experience, increase price and product optimization and reach more consumers. 

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