What Is an Online Car Dealership, and How Could It Take Your Business to The Next Level?


You’re serious about the success of your car dealership—after all, if you weren’t, you’d probably be in some other business.  That means of course that you’re always looking for ways to make the buying process easier and more convenient for your prospective buyers, and to provide them with better service than your competitors.  Now, there’s a way to do that, and it’s through the internet.

Most Consumers Aren’t Thrilled with Traditional Car Dealerships

Most consumers are a little wary of traditional car dealerships.  Buying a car “the old way” means driving to the dealership, spending a good deal of time checking out one car after another, negotiating with a salesperson, and (assuming the buyer finds the car he wants) working out the details of price and financing in the sales office.

That’s a lot of time, and potentially a lot of stress for your customers.  It’s one of the reasons almost 90% of consumers don’t like something about shopping at traditional dealerships, and more than 60% worry they’ll be taken advantage of there.

Welcome to the 21st Century:  The Online Dealership

Now, however, there’s a better way—providing all the tools buyers need to finalize a deal right on your website.  Sometimes referred to as a “virtual” or “online” dealership, this 21st-century approach is rapidly increasing in popularity.  Edmunds explains why:

“[with virtual dealerships] you call, email or text the dealership internet sales manager to verify that the car is in stock, schedule a test drive and get a general idea on price. Once you have test-driven and chosen a car, you can do the rest of the deal (including financing and negotiating) online or over the phone, still working with the internet team…This helps you avoid delays and sales pitches in the dealership finance and insurance office.”

It’s Not as Hard as You Think

You’re an ace at selling cars, but you might not be quite as confident when it comes to re-engineering your website and sales process.  That’s understandable, but there are ways to make the transition to an online dealership easier, including businesses which provide you all the tools you’ll need in a user-friendly, end-to-end solution.  They’ll help you create an online dealership website that leverages best practices in the industry, including the following 4:

  1. Keep it simple:  you’re new to the concept of an online dealership, and so are prospective buyers.  That means you want a site that’s as simple-to-use as possible, featuring a minimum of navigation choices and clear direction.  Your primary navigation bar should have limited options, like “buy,” “sell” and “how to use this site.” Remember, one of the principal goals of online buying is to reduce stress and add to convenience—you can do that with the most user-friendly site possible.
  2. Put benefits upfront: one of the first questions visitors to your site will have is, “what will I get here that I won’t get at a traditional dealership?”  Why make them guess? Include a clear list of the benefits they’ll get from shopping online with your business. This could include things like easy scheduling of test drives, guarantees, roadside assistance services and free delivery of the car they buy to their home.
  3. Leverage word of mouth:  having strong reviews and testimonials from other, satisfied buyers is critically important to building trust.  According to BrightLocal, for example, almost 85% of consumers trust the reviews they see on websites as much as they do recommendations from friends and family.  Whenever you sell a car, ask the buyer if he’s willing to write a review. Placing those reviews prominently on your website will increase consumer confidence in your business, especially important for those who are buying a car online for the first time.
  4. Use video to increase engagement (and save time):  people can learn more about your business in a 1 or 2-minute video than from reading long text descriptions.  Equally important, consumers like video more than reading. It’s one of the reason marketers who use video grow revenues almost 50% faster than those who don’t.  Beyond this, videos are much easier (and less expensive) to create than they were just a few years ago.  To increase engagement and give customers what they want, use video to explain how your online dealership works, and how it can benefit your customers.


Sounds good, but you’re still not sure an online dealership is right for you?  Fortunately, we can make it easier for you to understand how online dealerships work and show you the tools that will make it work for you.  To learn more, schedule an online demo today.