CARFAX Canada Driving Insights

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Is it Time to Move Your Sales Online?

by Drew Harden, Fri, Jan 31, 2020

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Canadians are buying more items than ever online, but are your customers ready to buy their next used vehicle online? When we say “online,” we mean that every step of the buying process, from research to delivery, is completed digitally. 45% of used car buyers will find the exact car they want to buy online before they go into the store, so it seems like completing the purchase online would improve the customers experience and you’d sell more cars, right?


Customers aren’t ready to “add to cart”

After surveying Canadian used car buyers, we found that moving your sales operation fully online isn’t as urgent as it may have originally seemed. When asked if they would prefer to make their next used vehicle purchase in a dealership or if they would like to buy online and have it show up at their door, only 12% of customers picked the online option. That’s not to say that eventually there won’t be a demand, as 40% said they could see themselves purchasing a vehicle online someday, but currently 88% of used car buyers aren’t ready to do it.


Customers say they still need the dealership

Used car buyers still need and want to visit a dealership. 70% want to see the car they found online in person, 66% need to get behind the wheel to test drive the car and 50% have questions that only a salesperson can answer. Not to mention, there’s an experience that your customers want to have when getting their next car, and 24% said they just like visiting the dealership for that very reason.


What should you do?

We found that customers are looking for some parts of the car buying process to be online, but not all of it. 32% of customers want the ability to negotiate the price of their next car, 28% want to view their options for warranties and 31% want a way to determine their trade-in value online.

Make it flexible for the customer allowing them to choose how much of the process they complete online before coming into the dealership.

Look at implementing a ‘hybrid’ approach to your entire sales journey. Make it flexible for the customer allowing them to choose how much of the process they complete online before coming into the dealership. For instance, 53% of used car buyers feel like they have more time to think when they are presented with options online and 47% feel less pressure since they’re taking the steps at their own pace. By moving some pieces of the process online, it can help used car buyers feel more comfortable during their purchasing journey.

Explore how our research can be applied at your dealership to help you win more business - request a consultation with a CARFAX Canada Rep:

Driving Insights
Driving Insights is an information series designed to help used car dealers better understand the motives and behaviours of Canadian used car buyers. The research, designed by CARFAX Canada and executed by Dynata, is based on the most pressing questions of dealership management and staff across Canada, answered through a national survey of 1,000 Canadians who recently bought a used car from a dealership. If there’s a question you’d like us to address, email insights@carfax.ca and we’ll get you some answers!

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