The shape of things to come in car retailing?

Innovation and technological development are always at the forefront of a constantly evolving car industry. As a business we are always looking at ways of improving the products and the way in which we market them in order to engage with customers in an ever changing world.

Since the internet has started to take such a lead role in virtually everything associated with selling cars it means that today’s buyers demand far more from dealers before they part with their money.

The internet is driving many aspects of car sales and the latest innovations are aimed at assisting the online car buyer to take the sales process as far as possible while still sitting at home. We have revealed previously how quickly multi-picture adverts and comprehensive descriptions have taken on more importance in terms of giving customers confidence in both the cars being marketed and the dealers trying to sell to them.

Now we hear one of the latest innovations, which some dealers are likely to be trying soon, is a type of portable web-cam which a car salesperson will use to give an online buyer a real-time demonstration of a car. A customer interested in a car for sale would call or email the showroom about the car in question and then log onto the web cam and let the salesperson give them a live tour around the car enabling them to highlight any items of spec that are of particular interest.

If there are any minor imperfections the dealer would be able to actually show the customer up close in order to assist them in maybe making a quicker decision on whether to purchase ,or at least make a visit to view in person, having satisfied themselves that they are happy that the car fits into their requirements.

This also lessens the amount of time they may use up trawling around car showrooms comparing and contrasting, which some enjoy but many do not.

From the dealers point of view it helps to offer transparency and ensure that nobody has their time wasted (except perhaps the slightly self conscious salesperson wandering around the showroom with a webcam).

If the technology is good enough and the pictures are of sufficient quality it might just take off especially in our time starved society where decisions need to be made quickly and patience is not necessarily a virtue. But it may be a case of ideas running way ahead of the technology because if the image quality isn’t crystal clear then it probably defeats the whole object.

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2 Responses to The shape of things to come in car retailing?

  1. Bill July 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I think this a great innovation, most likely to work better for the quality car showrooms than the lower priced market where vehicles are likely to have had more wear and tear.
    I would like to see this taken up by the big car auction hoses as some people I know have travelled a good distance only to find what was described in a catalogue was not up to scratch in the flesh.
    It will be interesting to see if there are ever any future legal issues over what has been described on the webcam regarding any defects which may arise in the future, in other words is the desription as stated on the webcam part of the sales details?
    Bill at

  2. Mark Robbins July 27, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    Interesting, but as our sales staff are already inundated with replying to e-mails from \net customers\ (the majority that are just fishing) i see little incentive to walk around a car with a web cam, surely no amount of photo’s, web cam images, descriptions etc can take the place of actually getting off your behind and coming to look at the vehicle in the flesh? far to many consumers are surfing the net and asking questions with little or no intention of follow up, just this weekend we conducted an experiment in \actual net turn ups\ that is, customers who asked all the right questions, discussed their part exchange, checked the spec of the car they were interested in, took up lots of sales staff time, and then didnt even bother to turn up or phone again. Of the 36 e-mails and 9 answerphone messages just one customer bothered to turn up or even contact us, in fairness he did buy, but the other five sales during Saturday were all walk ins! the net has become a blessing in some aspects but we are finding more and more consumers are using it simply for comparison and information picking, or worse still, they are bored but instead of picking up a phone as they once had too, they can now punch in questions on a key board with no fear of actually having to deal with a real person one to one, The Internet, we love it, we hate it !……………………………………………………….

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