5 Things Consumers Want out of Their Digital Car Buying Experience
August 4, 2021
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Now in the final stages of the pandemic it’s clear that many consumers expect a digital experience when buying a car — just as they expect with shopping for groceries and other goods now — and they’re likely to prefer it even after the pandemic ends. But what exactly are they looking for in their experience? Read on to learn more about the expectations for what is likely to become the new normal for car buying.

1. Cars delivered to your home to test-drive

Rather than going out to the dealership, consumers prefer to have a car delivered to their home so they can spend some time with it, perhaps for up to several hours, taking it for a spin around town and making sure the whole family likes it. Some consumers may appreciate having a knowledgeable professional deliver the car so they can go over the vehicle’s features and answer any questions.

2. Responsive internet sales team

According to NerdWallet, it’s time to beef up your internet sales staff:

“With the current fear of virus transmission, dealers are turning to their ‘internet departments,’ created years ago for tech-savvy shoppers, to remotely provide pricing details, arrange financing and schedule home deliveries. Until recently, this was a little-publicized car buying workaround. Now, it’s a lifeline for dealerships to safely arrange sales without physical contact.”

Car manufacturers and dealerships can expect more consumers than ever to reach out to their internet sales department by email with specific questions about cars they’re interested in, to arrange financing, and to arrange at-home test drives of the cars they’re most interested in. They will likely want zero personal interaction and may even shy away from telephone calls, at least until the final stages of their journey.

3. Online paperwork

As part of the digital experience, consumers expect to be able to fill out all the required paperwork for their purchase and financing online. Or at the very least, they would prefer to have it delivered to their home so they could return it to the dealership at their convenience.

4. Limited in-person contact with dealerships

While these expectations may have stemmed originally from anxieties about the COVID-19 virus, at this point most consumers would prefer not to have to spend long days at the car dealership even after the pandemic. Anything automotive OEMs and dealers can do to significantly reduce time spent at the dealership would be much preferred by consumers.

5. Sanitized cars

Even while the COVID-19 vaccination numbers rise and more and more states open up, a national cleaning survey reveals that 85 percent of respondents are very or somewhat likely to maintain the same cleaning habits they originally adopted at the start of the pandemic. With these numbers, dealers should expect to keep heightened levels of sanitization in place for the indefinite future when they deliver cars for test driving.


Like many other businesses, automotive companies can expect to see a lot of changes even after the pandemic is over. Fortunately many have already made great strides adapting to the new contactless environment and adopted an online retailing experience at least in part.