You know your customers are relying more and more on information they find online before they ever set foot in your dealership. You’ve been seeing it firsthand for years. The industry’s been telling you for quite some time, and everyone’s seen the stats to support it. From social media to online car review services to dealership websites, the web makes up a huge part of the shopping process for today’s car buyers.
Recent research shows that online information gathering isn’t just a growing part of car buying; it’s actually replacing the traditional test drive.
According to the report, 16 percent of today’s car buyers make their purchase without once getting behind the wheel. That’s one in six shoppers who don’t even show up at a dealership until he or she is ready to sign. Video is the online medium people are turning to instead.
How Virtual Test Drives Are Running the Sales Floor
Neither video nor any other online experience could actually replace an in-person test drive. It’s important to actually drive a vehicle before making a purchase. But there’s no arguing with the fact that more people want video and fewer people want test drives.
In addition to the fact that a substantial portion of buyers are now opting to forgo a test drive altogether, a full third of car buyers surveyed only test drove a single model, and only took it out one time before making a purchase. Forty-nine percent spent less than half an hour test driving and otherwise examining a car in person before making what they considered to be an informed decision.
All of these figures show a clear upward trend compared to the first time a similar survey was conducted several years ago. Project that trend out a few more years, and you’ll have a majority of car buyers who have already largely, if not entirely, made up their minds before they pull onto the lot, let alone get behind the wheel.
For better or for worse, the move to trust video is happening. The question you need to ask yourself is is my dealership ready?
Guest author Collin Davis is the chief technology officer at Dealer Video Showroom, a Dealer.com Certified Technology Provider