Not surprisingly, given the social media and digital age we’re living in today, more than 59 percent of people use the Internet to research their car-purchasing decisions. Of those people, 71 percent look for pricing, 68 percent look at cars for sale, 64 percent compare different makes and models, and 46 percent try to locate a dealer or dealer information.

Like every industry today, automotive is at a critical crossroads in regard to adjusting to the new consumer-buying habits. We are living in the age of Amazon and Uber and expect convenience and transparency. Especially when shopping for a car.

It’s no secret that the car industry is really struggling to embrace global digitalism. A couple of years ago, The New York Times ran a piece called “The Gap Between Auto Dealers and Social Media.” It’s a problem, and it needs to be fixed.

An Inevitable “Video Store” Fate

Dealership owners can’t drag their feet any longer. Digitalism is here, and it’s quickly shaping our future before our eyes. The automotive retail industry is under more pressure than ever before. Lower margins, stricter regulations, heavy competition, and online disrupters have many managers with their backs against the wall. A staggering 78 percent of shoppers are using third-party platforms to find their cars—that means they are totally cutting the dealership and salesmen right out of the process.

These consumers are dissatisfied with the current auto-dealership process, and they’re looking for alternative avenues at this very moment. Autotrader surveyed 4,000 people and asked them if they like showrooms across the country; 17 people said they do. That’s less than half a percent. Let these numbers sink in.

With the rise of online auto sales, will the average auto dealership even exist in 10 years? The industry is staring down a similar fate as that of travel agencies and video stores. Auto dealerships need to embrace digital disruption, not reject it.

Why Car Dealerships Need to Embrace Digital Disruption

It’s an intimidating task to rewire an entire network in efforts to embrace digitalism. But the long-standing and ineffective processes can’t go on any longer. With digital seamlessness, each department of the dealership can work in tandem with others to provide the best possible sales process—one that is focused on the customer and maintaining long-term relationships.

We’ve seen digital immersion in industries like real estate, where buyers can now experience a virtual tour of a property they want to buy. It’s this kind of technology that auto dealers need immediately. Digital retail is popular today because it’s transparent and incomparably convenient. You can’t beat that.

There are resources and tools available to help you navigate these critical times. It may be late in the game, but it’s not too late to adopt and adjust your business practices and survive digital disruption.

Max Zanan

Max Zanan

Founder of Total Dealer Compliance and Author of Perfect Dealership
Max Zanan