Are Consumers Ready To Buy Cars Online?

There’s not much I don’t buy online. In fact, it’s rare that I actually venture into a physical retail store for anything other than a perishable grocery item or a one-off Rx when I’m ill. 

But am I ready to buy a vehicle online? That question gives even the most tech-savvy among us pause.

Sure, I research the heck out of other major purchases before pulling the trigger. But it’s hard to imagine the dealership experience completely going away.

Still, cutting down on the length of the sales process is a definite worthwhile first step. Autotrader is introducing a new feature on its app,, which can save consumers up to an hour at the dealership by getting a bulk of the process done from the comfort of their own home.

Autotrader is unveiling a campaign today, “Palm of Your Hand,” from Zambezi, centered around the belief that car buyers want to accelerate the buying process.

Targeting key demographic groups, the multimedia campaign will be supported across a variety of broadcast, digital and print channels, including streaming platforms and online video, along with social media and ads across digital properties.

The broadcast spots will appear during morning, prime-time and late-night programming, as well as NBA on TNT and across the networks of ABC, CBS, NBCUniversal. Autotrader will partner again with NBCUniversal and Andy Cohen on a custom spot that will run on select NBCUniversal networks.

The typical car buyer in the U.S. spends more than three hours in the dealership from start to finish, and for half of new-car buyers in America, that's entirely too long, according to research.

Consumers are choosing their own purchase path when it comes to car buying—83% want to complete some buying steps online and 89% want to sign final documents in-store.

Once shoppers have chosen the vehicle of their choice on Autotrader, they can structure their deal, including calculating a monthly payment based on their actual information, getting a Kelley Blue Book Trade-In Value and securing financing, before entering the dealership.

At the dealership, shoppers can complete a test drive on their prospective new ride and complete the paperwork. Car buyers especially like to sign the final paperwork in person, but for the most part, shoppers get to do the hard work at home and save the fun stuff for their trip to a local dealer, according to Autotrader.

 "Autotrader is transforming the car buying process for car shoppers and dealers, with the ultimate goal to get consumers into the cars they want quicker, through the customized purchase process they want," said Greta Crowley, vice president of marketing for Autotrader, in a release.

1 comment about "Are Consumers Ready To Buy Cars Online?".
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  1. Ronald Kurtz from American Affluence Research Center, October 29, 2018 at 4:08 p.m.

    Buying a new car is usually a very unpleasant experience. Not just because of the time involved, it is how the time is spent. First, there is the false haggling over price as the salesman goes back and forth between his sales manager and the customer. Then there are reams of papers to sign, all  while the finance manager is trying to sell other services to the buyer.  

    If all the tricks of the trade can be eliminated and avoided, customers will definitely prefer online purchases over the current process. 

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