Why More People are Buying Cars Online

Added: 08 July 2021

Man using a table to shop cars online in a cafe

Buying Cars Online

Many industries faced hardships during the covid-19 pandemic, one of these being the car dealership sales around the globe. However, innovative inpiduals adapted quickly and changed to an online focussed business model. Auto Traders chief operating officer commended these businesses' actions as they rapidly seized the opportunity and made a success out of it. Various industry-leading dealerships have announced that these new changes within the industry are here to stay; people are becoming more accustomed to purchasing without seeing, and like in various other sectors, it's here to stay. 

Industries rapidly started changing after the distraught brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses weren't allowed to trade, but people still needed to spend their hard-earned money. This saw the rise of value in the eCommerce industry to a whopping $4 trillion, quite a significant amount. This should be a great indication of precisely how comfortable people are with buying without seeing first. 

According to research conducted by Vauxhall Motors, ten percent of buyers have already bought a car online without seeing it first, and another twenty percent will follow the same route when they're in a position to buy. This research was based on a group of two thousand inpiduals from the UK; more than half the group advised that it was less stressful to buy online than brick and mortar institutions. Furthermore, an astounding ninety percent of this group said they'd continue shopping online for most of their needs, and more than seventy percent said they no longer had to visit brick and mortar shops as everything is available online. 

James Taylor, sales and marketing director at Vauxhall Motors, said:

 "There can be a lot of misconceptions around making more significant purchases online, but we are seeing that it's becoming a much more normalized way of shopping.

Making expensive purchases doesn't have to be nerve-racking.

The worst that can happen with an expensive online purchase is that you don't like it – but just as with a pair of jeans you buy online, grace periods, returns, and refunds are perfectly common.

At Vauxhall, for example, we offer a 14-day money-back guarantee at our online showroom so customers have further peace of mind in buying their new car online."

Taylor did, however, add that it's not over for physical vehicle dealerships.

'For some people, in some circumstances, you still can't beat that physical aspect of browsing and purchasing items in-store, which is why our showrooms remain a vital part of our business, too.'

Another automotive sales leader Auto Trader also announced that more than two-thirds of their customer base is willing to buy online; this is a massive shift in consumer behavior and might be the start of a new generation of vehicle sales. This trend continuously grew during the pandemic, and it's not about to stop anytime soon. 

Ten tips for buying a vehicle online

  • When buying online, you don't have to stand around and wait for assistance; you assist yourself from the comfort of your couch, bed, lounge, or wherever. 
  • You can easily research the total operational costs for each vehicle by finding statistics online before your purchase. 
  • When you buy a car online, you can compare the price to similar models with similar mileage in a similar area. 
  • Please do your research regarding the business you're purchasing from; you can read reviews on social media and Google profiles, which will give you a great indication of business ethics. 
  • To retain your consumer rights which includes a 14 day cooling-off period, it's advisable you test drive the vehicle at another dealership and buy it from the online store. If you test drives with the dealership you're buying from, you might lose some of these long-distance purchase benefits. 
  • You must always look at the remainder of the vehicle warranty; the longer it has left, the better you're covered after purchasing the vehicle. Second-hand vehicle warranties may differ, unlike buying a new car. 
  • Start shopping around for various finance options from different credit providers; this will give you the best chance of finding the best deal on your finance. 
  • Ensure the dealership you are purchasing from will deliver your vehicle for free after you bought it.
  • Talk to the company about their consumer rights regulations. Whether they apply the 14 day cooling-off period, this might prove beneficial if you're unhappy with your purchase. 
  • If you're unhappy with the purchase and the vehicle needs to be returned, ensure you're not prone to paying exorbitant penalty fees or high charges for collecting the car. 

Your consumer rights when buying online

When purchasing online, you are more protected compared to when you buy something in person. This is referred to as the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013; while this regulation does protect you from making purchases in physical dealerships, it doesn't protect you as much as when you buy online. 

The reasoning behind this is simple: when you physically buy something in a store, you've seen it and still decided to go through with the transaction. Whereas when you buy online, you haven't seen the product but wish to buy it anyway. Because of this, it's inevitable that inpiduals buy a car online and want to return it a few days later. 

With the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013, when you buy a vehicle, and it's categorized as a distance sale, you have fourteen days, also known as a cooling-off period, to make up your mind on your purchase. This is because you have not yet seen the vehicle and will resolve any cases where people were misled online.

These regulations will apply to individuals who do make a purchase online. Still, it's important to remember that if you visit the retailer at any point during the sale process, for example, to test drive the vehicle, it will no longer fall under a distance sale. You'll lose some of the distance purchase privileges. 

What is Click and Buy

With the sudden shift in consumer behaviour, a new way of buying vehicles came about: purchasing new cars, used cars, and everything in between. 

Various large vehicle manufacturers have already started selling their vehicles online; these include; Dacia, Citroen, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Polestar, and Volvo. As a result, these manufacturers have seen growth in online sales, even amongst expensive items like vehicles. 

Various virtual vehicle dealerships are also breaking ground and assisting smaller dealerships with online exposure for their vehicles. These online dealerships include; Auto Trader, Heycar, AA cars, and YesAuto. 

These businesses have made an increasingly influential impact on the direction the automotive sales industry has gone. This is as they assisted regular dealerships with using the power of the internet to start selling more cars online.

The online era of selling vehicles is also highly beneficial in curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This is as many people no longer have to interact with others in order to purchase a vehicle. It also makes the operations for car dealerships safer as they don't have as many physical visits. Instead, their visits are online. Once the entire industry conforms to the new vehicle sales norms, it will be highly beneficial for all parties involved. 

Why online sales will continue to grow

  • When online shopping was new, most people had the idea of fraud and scams if they heard anything would be deducted from their accounts. In today's time, every transaction and event is recorded and stored for more than five years. This makes it extremely difficult for inpiduals to play a part in fraudulent activities. 
  • Our bank accounts are safer than ever before, and reputable businesses won't take your money for just anything; they have much more on the line than to risk something like this.
  •  When buying online, you get the peace of mind that you can return the product within 14 days if it doesn't meet your requirements or expectations. 
  • Younger inpiduals who have been raised with the idea that online shopping is the norm will continue to shop online even more comfortably, as this is what they're conformed to. As younger generations obtain more buying power, the online industries will only grow from strength to strength. 
  • Online shopping is something many of the world's leading companies have been pushing for quite some time now, with millions in investments to develop state-of-the-art systems and platforms for people to start shopping online. 
  • In most cases, same-day delivery is an option, and people are much more willing to pay for something online if they receive it that same day. 

One of the dealerships specializing in online vehicle sales known as Bridgend Motor Group located in Kilwinning near Kilmarnock, they also have history dating back to as far as 1930 which ensures an enormous amount of experience within the automotive sales industry. 

This is an exciting time for an industry as significant as the automotive sales industry. It'll be interesting to see how fast the remainder of consumers shift their idea on online shopping. More people will be comfortable with shopping online than inpiduals who are not in the near future. 

Start using the technology available to you and start shopping online; it's the new, more comfortable, safer, and more accessible means of transacting with businesses.