In less than 60 days—not 60 weeks, much less 60 months—massive and unprecedented changes have been thrust upon the industry, and our organizational ability to react has become, quite literally, existential.
While e-commerce has become the norm for all manner of goods—books, travel, groceries, electronics—auto sales have lagged behind, still requiring a visit to the dealership to complete the transaction. Customers have few options for buying cars online, among them Carvana and Vroom, sellers of used cars; Tesla and CarSaver at Walmart, who sell both new and used cars.
While the majority of car companies and dealers use the web solely as a tool to drive consumers to showrooms, these well-funded newcomers are using the web as a tool to drive sales online. With consumers forced into their homes by the coronavirus pandemic, online sales have spiked to unprecedented levels and these well-funded digital disruptors are poised to take a sizable bite out of the market.
Mike Jackson, AutoNation’s CEO, said online sales continue increasing even after stay-at-home restrictions were eased. “This is what the industry has needed to do for a long time,” he said. “This is an inflection point, a strategic shift, and it’s not going back.”
In this article, we share best practices of the biggest and best players online, along with the technology they use to deliver a seamless online experience at scale. We explore what online buyers expect, who is meeting those expectations, where the industry is falling short and how you can fill the gap.