In just a few short years, the technology boom that is being experienced around the world has positively impacted a wide range of different industries. Technology has made a nearly limitless amount of information available to consumers at a moment’s notice, which is allowing them to make more confident purchases in easier ways, positively impacting the shopping experience at the same time. Out of all of the industries that have benefited from this technology shift, perhaps none have been influenced as prominently as automotive businesses.
The Technology Shift
One of the major benefits that technology has brought to a wide range of different businesses is one of empowerment. The ways in which the auto shopping experience has changed in the last several years is one of the best examples of this idea in action.
In an era that is thankfully long passed, shopping for a car was a frustrating experience for many and a lengthy and involved process for everyone. In order to have the confidence you needed to guarantee that you were getting a good deal, you essentially needed to either be an expert in all things automotive or find a trusted friend or family member that you could take to the dealership with you.
There was a seemingly endless list of variables that you needed to keep track of. Did car X have the type of features that you needed? Was the dealership offering a fair price on car Y? Which additional features did you really need over the standard trim level? Should you spring for the extended warranty, or does this particular brand have a good reputation for putting out reliable vehicles?
The list was endless. Shopping for a car was not unlike writing a book report, only it was worse in that you had to write that report in full view of your teacher (the car salesperson) at all times.
The Benefits of Technology to Car Shopping Consumers
Thanks to technology, however, this process has all changed for the better. Customers don’t have to wait until they get to the dealership to view available cars to begin the research process. Using online inventory systems, you can see exactly which makes and models are for sale at any particular dealership using a Web browser from the comfort of your own home.
Researching your options and finding the right car for you has also truly never been easier. With just a few quick taps of your keyboard you can bring up detailed specs of any car you’d like, view fair market prices, read reviews from real owners and more.
Car Shopping and Technology: The Statistics
According to the interactive Advertising Bureau, consumers are making better use of technology in terms of the auto buying experience in greater numbers with each passing year. As of 2014, a full 58% of all car shoppers are likely to heavily research a product online before buying it. This is compared to the 42% of people who are likely to use the Internet to research any other type of product. What’s even more amazing is the fact that 86% of car shoppers are no longer starting the buying process in the dealership and instead are beginning research on the Internet.
While desktop and laptop computers are still popular for this purchase, many car buyers are doing their research on smartphones and tablets.
Technology and Auto Loans: A Match Made in Heaven
The actual, physical process of buying a car isn’t the only element of the shopping experience that has been positively impacted by technology. The process of securing an auto loan is now significantly easier than its ever been and is yielding positive results for customers all over the country.
Even just a few short years ago, the process of securing a loan for your car was a long and fairly complicated one. You essentially had one of two options: you could go through the car dealership themselves and hope that they were able to find a financial institution with favorable terms, or you could take matters into your own hands. Even if you were able to find an auto loan that you were happy with, the process was often longer and more involved than the actual car buying experience itself.
Flash forward to the landscape of today and you’ll find online auto loans that have completely torn apart and rebuilt the experience from the ground up. It’s now a completely integrated experience – shopping for a car loan is no longer something that you do in addition to buying a car and is now something that happens as an organic part of the process.
Online auto loans also offer an exceptional level of support to help better align the process with the needs of the customer. Using any device on the planet with an active Internet connection, you can compare low rates from local community lenders, get an instant decision as to the status of your loan based on your credit history and more.
What was previously everyone’s least favorite part of the car buying process is now simpler and more convenient than ever before. If you know that you have a specific budget in mind, you don’t even have to wait until you get to the car dealership to start the application process. Customers can now get pre-approved financing before they even leave their house to head over to the dealership in the first place.
Technology and Auto Shopping: A Bold New World
Make no mistake: technology has definitely changed the car shopping experience dramatically, but those changes are almost exclusively positive. Even something that used to be complex like getting a loan for a new car is now a pleasurable and convenient event. Online auto loans have entered into the marketplace to better align shopping not with the needs of car dealerships or manufacturers or even financial institutions, but with the needs of the most important person of all: the customer.
When you think about all of the positive impacts that technology has made on the car buying experience even in just the last few years, it is truly exciting to think about what the landscape may look like five, ten or even fifteen years from now.