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How to Capitalize on Digital Shopping Trends


Consumers have long been trending toward online car shopping, and the pandemic has only accelerated digital buying patterns. With this behavior shift likely to stick well into the future, it’s important for your dealership to know what these trends mean and to have the right tools to engage buyers where they’re looking: online.



Even before the current market conditions, you likely noticed a steady decline over the years in the number of customers visiting your lot. Now, visits to dealerships are the lowest they’ve been in five years, with more than half of buyers visiting only one dealership during the research and shopping process.1 Despite fewer visits, consumer satisfaction is reaching new heights, with 77% of buyers saying they are satisfied with their dealership experience, as more of the shopping and buying experience has moved to digital processes.1

Interacting with fewer staff members has helped with this trend. Buyers reported an 83% satisfaction rate when interacting with one staff member, dropping to a 64% satisfaction rate when dealing with four or more.1 It turns out car shoppers appreciate the new-found efficiencies dealerships have adopted with the shift to digital. These changes mean the amount of time buyers spend in a dealership is at an all-time low. The more information dealers can provide during the online car shopping stage, the more decisive buyers can be.



With these trends in mind, there are actions you can take to connect with your shoppers and provide the digital experience that gives them the confidence to take the next step in their shopping journey.

Using dynamic 360-degree spins on your listings provides more transparency to shoppers than photos alone. Of consumers shopping online, 8 out of 10 said a 360-degree spin was either extremely or very valuable when shopping for a vehicle.2 

Interior and exterior 360-degree spins give the shopper the control to virtually explore a vehicle, building trust between the shopper and the dealer. In fact, 83% of online shoppers are more confident in the condition of the vehicle if the vehicle has a 360-degree spin.2

To see how a 360-degree spin solution could take your merchandising to the next level, reach out today to learn more about SnapLot 360 with vAuto, the only spin tool that is available in vAuto and integrates directly with Autotrader.



1 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study: Pandemic Edition, 2021

2 HomeNet 360 Spin Consumer Research, May 2021

About the Author

As Cox Automotive's AVP of Strategy and Operations at vAuto, Nathan Fox spearheads the strategic development of merchandising, reconditioning, and wholesale acquisition solutions. With a focus on implementing vAuto's Variable Management philosophy, Nathan aids dealers in optimizing ROI for used car inventory. Drawing from over a decade in the consumer-packaged goods industry, including roles at Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark, Nathan brings a CPG-informed perspective to auto retail merchandising. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Profile Photo of Nathan Fox