Do car dealers “get the net”?

The searing pace of change on the internet will not slow and, as any internet marketer will tell you, if you stand still you go backwards. More people are using it and more new people will use it, as time goes on it will be the primary way we interact with businesses and make purchasing decisions.

Obviously if you look at other industries they have used the internet to engage and sell products to consumers in a much more successful way than car dealers.

This is no real surprise given the size of the financial commitment made when buying a car, and although more people are actually buying cars on the net it is still mainly used as a research tool to establish what car to buy and the dos and don’ts of car buying.

If we look at the “silver surfers” they are probably the biggest growing demographic in internet buyers given the time they have over the working population, and the fact they are confident to order shopping, white goods, holidays and insurance online is a measure of how secure they feel when surfing the web to find the right products at the right price.

There is still a belief in the motor trade that many consumers use the web to make choices and negotiate on deals in a way which they perhaps wouldn’t do face to face. That is probably as a result of the trade having a reputation as intimidating and controlling but also many British people just don’t like haggling and want the best deal up front without the embarrassment of negotiating on price.

Many car dealers are waking up to the fact that more people will use the net to make these comparisons before even venturing into a showroom, but many still do not know, or perhaps understand, how best to engage with this new type of customer.

They have invested heavily in updating and revamping showrooms, spent thousands on improving their websites and taking the time and trouble to train and recruit the right staff to meet the demands of their customers but they still, in many cases, do not ‘get’ the net.

There are many great operators in the motor trade who have a proven track record of sales success in the motor industry, but who dismiss the net and the [people who use it as not likely to actually buy cars, or that they don’t believe that the investment in the resource will bring them the returns that investment will cost.

In fairness this is due from not really understanding, let’s face it many people today still do not know how to text or use an excel spreadsheet so therefore if they don’t get it they don’t believe it, and this is never more apparent than in the motor trade.

We just simply don’t get it therefore we stick to our traditional belief that we can sell cars as we always have, well the rapid change in web use and the fact that we see new innovations everyday means that although we may get away with doing what we have always done for a certain amount of time eventually we will need to join the evolution and that means meeting our customers in arenas that they are comfortable operating in.

If that means that they can become confident in car dealers delivering the products for the right price and the right quality with a robust aftersales commitment, who knows in a few years from now we may see cars being delivered from the back of lorries as well as food, if Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s don’t get there first.

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One Response to Do car dealers “get the net”?

  1. Mark Robbins October 8, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    True, but in the end no one parts with their hard earned cash for a vehicle without actually seeing and driving it first, especially when you talk about “Used Cars” like it or not the public must at some stage engage in some face to face conversation and get out from behind their computer screen. The internet is a tool, but it’s not the Holy Grail.

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