Everyday, the world of the virtual marketplace gets more real. Dealers, owners, salespeople and services around the world are learning the value of putting their stores online. The automotive manufacturing, marketing and dealership sectors have a greater reliance and expertise in knowledge management than any other industry. This extends to viable E-commerce and cutting-edge online presentation of value-added products. In October of 2005, the New York Times reported that according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, 94% of the dealers in the US have websites with many of them registered through car finder services. The monthly average customers that visited any given dealer site were 230, as compared to a monthly average of 116 in 2004. Consumers are not just window-shopping or researching possible on-lot purchases, they are buying online at a dramatically increasing rate. Typical dealer sales conducted entirely online have increased from an average of 4.9 to 7.5 monthly in just two short years. 1.6 million people a month now buy their vehicles online. This is a staggering statistic. However, given the outstanding customer service and convenience provided by virtual car dealerships, it’s no surprise. This is part of a worldwide upward trend in auto related site traffic and business. Although site traffic numbers are higher in Germany, Sweden, and Holland, online sales are 60% higher in the USA than the world average.
One of the advantages of the online marketplace and virtual dealership sites is the fact that comparison-shopping is more convenient and less confusing for the consumer. For example, you are more times than not looking at a limited selection of make, model and inventory when you visit your local dealer. The price is approximately whatever the salesperson says it is. Knowing that auto sales are always negotiable, and that most salespersons work from commission, you are immediately put on notice that if you want a good deal, you will have to haggle. Offers and counter-offers then ensue. The salesperson plays the “good cop” role as he shuffles off with offers to a mysteriously absent manager or “bad cop” that is, of course, reportedly inflexible and steadfast. You, on the other hand, sit and twiddle your thumbs for hours on end waiting for a reasonable counter-offer. Usually eight or ten hours later, you are tired, confused, stressed out, and just plain exasperated. You may or may not have worked out a deal. Many car-buyers consider this a frustrating experience, not a satisfying or pleasurable one. Thanks to advancing IT technology and online virtual dealer showrooms, the scenario described above is becoming less common all the time.
The online marketplace allows you to select from an entire world of inventory and options. All makes and all models are available. MSRP and invoice cost are available and price quotes are yours for the asking. Many dealership sites will provide you with a complete detailed list of options and specifications on any make and model that may have caught your interest. Multiple views and zoom features are available for new and some late model vehicles. Some more advanced virtual showrooms can even provide three hundred and sixty degree interior scans. Do you want to hear what your new high performance vehicle sounds like? Yes, you can hear it online in some virtual showrooms. You can access financial worksheets that will calculate your monthly payments right down to the penny. You can do everything short of kicking the tires and taking the test drive. Online, there are no grandiose showrooms, in-your-face sales promotions, prizes, colorful décor, or overdressed salespersons to drive the dealer’s overhead off the chart. There are no mysteries. On car finder sites like http://www.carfinderservice.com, you can provide a description of exactly what type of vehicle you are looking for and your zip code. You receive a prompt reply from a trusted in-network dealer in your area. This is not an auto-reply with a generic message. You receive a phone call from an actual local salesperson with all the information you need. This includes the availability, the value-added price, and answers to any questions you might have. In addition, there is no cost or obligation to use many of these services.
The value of the in-network dealer is obvious: They have made a commitment to provide consumers with the lowest possible price. A quote at rock bottom price results because the dealers’ cost to obtain you, as a customer is almost zero. These savings can then be passed on to you. We are talking about prices that are usually one percent over the dealer’s invoice. This is a huge bargain by anyone’s standards. There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration to determine pricing at this stage of the online buying experience. One of them, of course, is supply and demand. If a vehicle is in high demand, the price can be as high as the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). However, the fact that you are dealing with an in-network dealer is going to carry more than adequate weight into the quote you receive. You get the lowest possible price and the best quality service available anywhere by using a car finder service online. You get the virtual royal treatment with this system.