Real-time messaging and chat functionality, virtual vehicle walk-arounds and test drives with video, and completing financing and trade-ins online.
Those are some of the new methods consumers are using to purchase their new or used cars from local dealerships.
Sixty-one percent of recent car buyers would want their newly purchased car delivered at home from their local dealership, Cars.com stated, sourcing a September DealerRater consumer survey.
Cars.com said the stay-at-home economy is not just driving trends toward home cooking and home improvement projects.
It is also bring a surge in buying cars delivered directly to consumers’ homes.
Cars.com says dealers are responding to that trend. CARS Dealer Community studies in March and August show a 35% increase in local dealerships offering home delivery services since March.
As shoppers and sellers juggle homeschooling and working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their adoption of virtual car-buying tools and contactless home delivery options.
Those digital offerings provided a lifeline to local dealerships during showroom closures. In the months that followed, the offerings helped them compete effectively against disruptors and national online-only car sellers.
Consumers have turned to personal car ownership as their “preferred and safe mode of transportation” at the start of the pandemic and far beyond, Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter said in a news release.
“While the technology and digital retailing tools are not new to the industry or CARS, there is a noticeable increased usage driven by shopper demand and dealers are rapidly shifting their strategies to meet this new consumer expectation,” Vetter said.