My Experience With Shopping for Cars Online

Jan 16

Three years ago, I embarked on a new adventure: buying a car. For a few years, I’d been driving around in what some would call a “hooptie” that my grandmother gave to me. It was a beloved car, but it was definitely time for an upgrade.

Growing up with technology, I began my buying process by shopping for cars online. I gathered important information then decided to take my mission to the dealerships. Though smartphone websites were just starting to gain popularity, I based much of my search on dealerships that had a smartphone website that was at least slightly functional. Car sellers that lacked functionality on my iPhone did not get my attention for the beginning of my car searching efforts.

It didn’t take long for me to realize this was going to be a time-consuming process. Buying a car is an important decision and this was my first large purchase as an adult. I had been saving for months and had a decent budget to invest, so I wanted to make the right decision. I realized that limiting my search to shopping for cars online may not complete my mission, because many dealerships were failing to adapt to my technological lifestyle. I found a flyer for a sale at a local car dealership and decided to check it out.

I immediately fell in love with a red Saturn Ion Coupe.  Not only was the car my favorite color, but it also had low miles and suicide doors. Only problem was – I didn’t love the price tag. The car salesman gave me some lecture that shopping for cars online simply doesn’t do the process justice, explaining that I needed to take a test drive to truly know if I wanted to purchase the car. Of course, the test drive only increased my love for the car and the car salesman could see my excitement.

I knew what my budget was and was well aware that this car was just over my budget. After explaining this to the car salesman, he took me back to his desk to negotiate the price.  We went back and forth a bit and he seemed hopeful that he could close the deal. Until my sister and I whipped out our phones and started comparing prices on other automobile sites. It became clear that he was growing worried as we sat there and told him available pricing options from the smartphone websites we were browsing. Here we were, sitting at a desk in one car dealership comparing prices at competing dealerships from across the state. Within little time, I had negotiated the price down by nearly $5,000. Quite honestly, if I hadn’t utilized the smartphone websites I probably would have settled for $3,000 off my car because that would have been within my budget.

That was three years ago. Since then, shopping for cars online and utilizing smartphone websites for car hunts has only increased. It has become common practice to do a quick scan of automobile websites to compare pricing. Without a smartphone website for your dealership, potential customers may not know that your dealership exists. Back then, I was slightly ahead of the trend by utilizing smartphone websites for my car search. But as more consumers adapt to mobile-friendly trends, dealerships simply cannot remain competitive without a smartphone website.

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