A CDK Global survey earlier this year took a look at how willing vehicle shoppers are to participate in parts of the car buying process online. Research from the automotive retail information technology company suggests that today's car shoppers want (and expect) more from dealer websites when it comes to online shopping technology.

The CDK Global Survey

Car Buying Process Online
The CDK Global survey found that car shoppers are not only willing, but likely to start the car buying process online. Here's what they found:

  • 80% say they would likely configure a payment online.
  • Nearly 70% of vehicle shoppers expected to find the ability to configure a payment on a dealership website.
  • 83% indicated that online buying technology would help them determine what they can afford and narrow down their vehicle choice.
  • More than 50% said they would configure a payment and start the credit process online.

"Consumers have clearly indicated that they expect dealers to offer the ability to start the car buying process online," said Bob Karp, president of Automotive Retail North America at CDK Global. "Interestingly, our research found that among those same consumers, nearly 60 percent felt more comfortable starting this process on a dealer's website compared to third-party sites. Dealers have a big opportunity to improve trust with this new technology, and to reduce the purchase time."

The Ideal Online Tool

With the never-ending talk of reducing the transaction time and more consumers becoming open to participating in the car buying process online, it only makes sense to have an online tool(s) on your site that helps consumers configure a potential payment. CDK Global suggests one that allows consumers to do four things:

  • Select a down payment
    Consumers should be able to enter how much money they would like to put down on their potential vehicle purchase. Ideally, they should be able to see how changing their down payment will affect their monthly payment.
  • Determine trade-in value
    Users should be able to get an accurate estimate of the value of their trade-in on your site with the help of a trusted source like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. They should then be able to see that amount get subtracted from their current loan amount on their potential vehicle purchase.
  • Calculate taxes and fees
    Customers would ideally be able to determine any applicable taxes and fees based on their address. Being upfront and transparent means they aren't surprised at the tail-end of the process.
  • Obtain credit information
    Users who are comfortable with entering sensitive information should be able to run their credit and determine their credit score and tier. Alternatively, the tool will simply allow consumers to estimate their credit rating and go from there. Then, customers can select applicable finance and lease options.

Any such tool should allow both customers and dealers to save a significant amount of time during the car buying process.

Tips for Dealers

Make sure to keep a few things in mind: not all consumers are going to want to utilize online tools and the tool(s) has to be accurate or it loses all credibility. Here are some tips:

  • Make it flexible
    Some consumers like going to the dealership with an open mind. Others don’t want to enter sensitive information online. Make sure those who aren't as prone to do more of the car buying process online aren't put at a disadvantage.
  • Make the transition from online to in store seamless
    Consumers are still going to come in and test drive the vehicle(s) they have their eye on and to finalize the transaction. Make sure they are shown the vehicle(s) they want, with the features they want, at the price that they agreed to online.
  • Make it transparent to build trust
    To make this all work and to build consumer trust, any deals that are built online must be accurate and reliable. Consumers can then be confident that the details they put together online will be honored in store.

A Final Tip

Auto Credit Express has the leads, tools and software to help make your store even more profitable. Our customers trust our brand because we've been helping them for close to 20 years. Get them into your store by giving us a call at 888-535-2277 or by filling out our contact form online.