The pandemic may have slowed our lives down, but it has certainly sped up the pace at which we use the internet to make big spending decisions.
Before the pandemic, online shopping was mostly convenient for purchasing small products such as clothes and gadgets. Today, people have become much more comfortable making larger purchases that could even require flatbed hauling services to reach our homes safely.
Now that digital innovations have made purchasing big things such as furniture, appliances, and now even cars easier in the middle of a pandemic, it also raises new concerns. Especially with cars, how do you make sure that the look, feel, and overall quality of your car of choice meets your standards?
There are both pleasant and not-so-pleasant aspects to going the online route. Consider the pros and cons to find the best option for yourself.
The Good Part: It Saves You a Lot of Time
A great advantage of online shopping is that it usually makes the whole process much faster or more reasonable overall.
Easy Price and Feature Comparisons
When you browse through car models on a dealer’s website, you have all the initial information you need on one page. Instead of walking around a dealership to inspect various models and then moving to the next, you can simply click a few links to get a list of all available models in specific locations.
Additionally, browsing online helps you quickly learn what differentiates each model from each brand from the next. This makes it easier to compare specs and prices so that you can narrow down your choices. When you find yourself in a tough spot choosing between a couple of vehicles, it takes a simple Google or YouTube search to find reviews from reliable sources.
The best thing? You can do all of these on your own time and at your own pace. No need to try to cram all your canvassing and reviewing in one whole day from one dealership to another.
No Stressful Negotiations
An exhausting part of buying a car the traditional way is the amount of negotiating involved just to get to the most agreeable price for both parties. It is often a battle of wits, making sure that you aren’t talked into choosing a low monthly payment scheme that just amounts to a higher total payment in the long run.
For buyers who want to avoid this, many online dealer platforms do away with this entirely. Prices are often upfront and final, which could be better for people who prefer fewer sales interactions. Other times, the dealership’s system refreshes your offer according to the personal information you enter, such as your credit score.
Alternatively, buyers can also do their negotiations via email, which is much less intimidating than a face-to-face discussion. Email exchanges are easier to review, and negotiating remotely gives you more room to check and recheck the important bits of information.
The Challenge: You Might Lose the Full Experience
But with the conveniences online car shopping offers come the challenges.
Lack of Interaction with the Vehicle
Spending a whole day at a dealership is taxing, but it lets you experience what may be the most exciting part of buying a car. Buying online deprives you of the opportunity to really experience what the car looks and feels like in real life. Closeup photos can’t quite replicate the thrill of opening a car door and sitting inside to envision yourself driving it in the future.
But there are often chances for a test drive, depending on the dealership. It is best to inquire about the possibility of gaining firsthand experience with driving the car around. Remember, the thoroughness of your test drive could make or break your decision!
Potentially Longer Negotiations
Sure, no in-person negotiations can be a plus for some people, but having to do the back and forth of email negotiations for a few days is possible when making a purchase remotely. Other car buyers may find this a more exhausting process than just having them face to face.
Be Patient Through the Process
Whether online or offline, purchasing a car is not a simple grab-and-go process. It takes a lot of paperwork and submissions to finally get the green light on your new vehicle, so anticipate that it will take a bit of time.
Weigh the pros and cons of each method of buying a car, and choose one that will give you the least worries and make the whole journey much more comfortable for you.