Online shopping has taken the nation by storm. Whether you want to buy the week’s groceries or the latest fashion trends, or even just a few books, the internet has made shopping easier than ever. So why should car shopping be any different? General Motors is pushing for more of its customers to switch from dealers to the internet to buy their next cars.
Tesla is one of the first automakers to bypass a dealership completely, selling directly to customers over the internet. Taking online car shopping to this extent has dealers worried, as they are tied up in state legislatures with protective franchise laws. However, GM doesn’t want to go to this extreme.
“When you think about the car-shopping experience, the disconnect between the manufacturer and the consumer is significant. I think this will make the manufacturers more customer-focused,” said Larry Freed, CEO of the consulting group ForeSee, in a recent interview with the Detroit Free Press.
GM has recently launched the Shop-Click-Drive system, where customers can research a car before heading to a dealer for purchase. This pilot program was designated to only 100 dealers in eight states to start selling cars online. Out of 1,000 that have used the system, less than 10 people used the application to purchase a vehicle. The program offers better leads for dealerships that rely on third-party leads from other sources.
This new program is set to draw in younger buyers who are constantly connected to the internet via smartphones and do the majority of their shopping online. On possible setback of this project would be companies like Amazon.com and other e-commerce markets entering the automotive market. Dan Akerson, CEO of GM, recently said “We’re trying to evolve, not only from an internal perspective but from an external perspective, to a more 21st-Centry information-based marketing company.”
Source: Detroit Free Press