Like other small businesses across the United States, auto dealerships are mobilizing and adapting to a changing consumer landscape, said Jessica Stafford, senior vice president and general manager for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.
“Autotrader’s new Dealer Home Services tools aren’t a radical departure for most dealerships but rather an expediting of products, services and ways of doing business that were already on the way,” Stafford said in a news release.
Stafford is referring to a new Autotrader program called Dealer Home Services, which the company says is helping dealers stay connected to shoppers as consumers shelter in place and practice social distancing. Dealer Home Services assists with “no contact” interactions through virtual vehicle tours for consumers, test drives at home and local vehicle delivery at no additional cost to dealers.
“This new form of communication can help consumers get needed, reliable transportation without leaving home and risking excessive in-person contact while promoting business as usual for dealers amid this unique situation,” Stafford said.
Dealer Home Solutions includes a Virtual Walk-Around, starting the virtual sale with a personalized video chat that allows consumers to ask questions and get a feel for the vehicle.
Test drives from home is another part of Dealer Home Solutions, and that involves bringing the car to the customer with a no-obligation test drive at their location.
An additional part of Dealer Home Solutions is local vehicle delivery, which provides the option to start a local shopper’s purchase online and receive delivery of the car directly to their location to complete their purchase.
Autotrader sourced the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study in noting that the car shopper of today spends 61% of his or her time online.
The company also sourced recent Cox Automotive consumer research in stating that because of COVID-19 concerns, 37% of six-month intenders are less likely to visit a dealership in person. Autotrader said that during extraordinary times, online merchandising and digital retailing are more important than ever.
The company said it is helping provide dealers with tools to reach customers safely and conveniently by delivering an informational and virtual shopping and buying experience.
Through at-home services, dealers can accommodate the buying needs of consumers looking for a vehicle at this time.
Autotrader is providing tools to local dealers to promote these services to in-market shoppers, whether those shoppers are researching from the couch or scheduling a car to be delivered to their front door.
Also, with the increase in online media consumption, shoppers can start the car-buying process from home through the use of digital Autotrader tools such as Accelerate.
Autotrader is offering ongoing updates and answers to questions such as “How to clean your car,” “Is it a good time to finance,” and “Is it better to lease or buy?”
The company is offering Coronavirus News and Advice for Car Owners and Shoppers from Autotrader editors.