The survey found 91% of shoppers want an interactive digital experience in the dealership.  -  IMAGE: Pexels/Ono Kosuki

The survey found 91% of shoppers want an interactive digital experience in the dealership.

IMAGE: Pexels/Ono Kosuki

More auto dealers are offering online car-buying from start to finish, and many say it’s improved the process and customer relationships, a Cox Automotive study found.

Almost four in 10 dealers now let consumers make their purchases entirely online, up from three in 10 a year earlier, Cox said.

In the July survey of 393 franchise dealers, 76% indicated digital sales improved the deal process and customer relationships, and 61% said they’ve improved the finance-and-insurance process.

One snag the poll revealed is the fact that digital sales usually end up becoming a dual online and in-person process, as 97% of dealers said consumers repeat online steps in the store, leading to a longer process and compromised consumer trust. That’s because just 8% of dealers said they fully trust information submitted online.

Cox, which has studied digital car-buying since 2017, also surveyed buyers and shoppers, and found that 91% of shoppers want an interactive digital experience in the dealership, and just a quarter of dealers said their online and in-store digital presences square up. Cox advises consistency between the two to instill more consumer trust in the process.

“Now that buyers have a growing willingness to share their data with dealers online, knowing that it is driving a more personalized online experience, digital retailing is not just a tool for efficiency – it is a mainstream best practice that consumers expect from their shopping experience,” said Cox SVP of Consumer Solutions Jessica Stafford in a press release.

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Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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