How Automotive Digital Retail Works


Retail sales methods across the world are changing, and in the US it has become highly noticeable. Digital sales are no longer the small revenue stream they once were, they are fast becoming the norm for many consumers and traders.

Amazon will account for 39.5% of all US retail sales by the end of this year. Of course, this behemoth has made huge inroads into the world of retail and has been hugely responsible for turning many consumers toward the net, and away from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

While it seems natural to make certain purchases online now due to retailers such as Amazon, it can still seem unusual to use the net for purchases that traditionally involve human exchanges and physical viewing of the product.

You wouldn’t for instance buy expensive jewelry on the net without an in-person viewing. And you possibly wouldn’t have thought about making a new car purchase on the net either. Yet, car dealers are grasping the horns of digital retail and taking advantage of the technology to increase sales.

How does digital retail work for automotive dealers?

Car sales have nearly always been done in the same way. A dealership will display their models in their showroom and on the lot, and potential buyers and families will come to view them.

Nearly always there will be a salesperson involved in the process, and there may be a test drive and some negotiation involved. If the sale continues then either payment will be made in full or financing will be arranged. Documents and keys are passed over.

Digital retail doesn’t necessarily remove this process, but it does add other options for the consumer, and open up the dealer to potentially higher sales. Here are some areas of automotive digital retail, and how they work.


The car dealer’s website can help to market their stock, and potentially new arrivals or cars held at other showrooms. This way a franchise or chain dealership can market far more than the physical stock held at one showroom. Indeed, every electrical car you can buy could potentially be marketed on the site.

Digital retail

You may think of digital retail as being the same as ecommerce, and in some instances it is. The dealer’s website allows a buyer to go online and actually purchase a new or used car without ever setting foot in the showroom.

They can search all the stock to find the cheapest new cars, or search for one manufacturer only. or by engine size. Then, a purchase can be made as simple as it would on Amazon.

Hybrid sales system

However, digital retail doesn’t necessarily have to involve the purchase being made online. The website allows consumers to gather vital information about a vehicle, and to get all the facts before visiting the showroom. For many, there will be a preference to see the car in person and finish the sale there.

Online operators and representatives

Car dealers who use digital retail also realize the need for knowledgeable staff to be involved. If you check out Visitor Chat you will see that industry-educated operators provide information 24/7 to anyone using a digital car retail website.

These operators are there so that car dealer sites can operate around the clock, and provide live chat to any visitor.

Test drives

A car dealer retail website will offer many options to fulfill the buyer’s needs. These include being able to arrange test drives. This means booking a time at the showroom to suit the customer or even having the car delivered to a suitable location for the test drive.

Sales Process

The whole of the sales process can be completed online digitally, or part of it can. It has been noted that a majority of car buyers would like to be able to make the sales process smoother by completing some of the paperwork online.

This can mean choosing the best payment options, and also arranging credit if needed to complete the sale. Then the customer has the choice of whether they want to totally complete the sale on the net and arrange delivery, or to go into the showroom to finalize the deal.


It was in 2020 when the US auto industry peaked. In that year, 18 million new cars were sold but there hasn’t been a huge dip. In 2022, it is expected that around 17 million new cars and trucks will be purchased.

Many of these will be delivered straight to the consumer after they have made a purchase online in the future.


Car sales methods are changing along with other areas of retail. No one can afford to stand still now as ecommerce and digital retail take a genuine foothold in different sectors.

It may have been unthinkable for car dealers to sell digitally not so long ago, but it is increasingly looking like the future. And, many car dealers are already seeing the benefits as are their consumers.

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