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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

Nathan Fox is Senior Director of Business Development for Cox Automotive’s Inventory Management Solutions brands which include vAuto and Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer. In this role, Nathan leads the development of all inventory merchandising solutions. His primary focus is helping dealerships grow their business by having all the data and tools they need to ensure their inventory investments pay off. Prior to joining Cox Automotive, Nathan spent more than ten years in the consumer packaged goods industry working for organizations such as Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. His CPG experience firmly shapes his approach to merchandising in the auto retail space. Nathan attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

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