Sunday, March 20, 2022

Useless Car Dealer Websites


WEST COAST        
Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

Like many Americans, during and following the COVID-19 pandemic I have begun to spend a lot more time online shopping.

I recently decided to go truck shopping online and began visiting several auto dealer websites.

Have you ever tried to actually buy a car or truck online?

Or perhaps more importantly have you tried to shop for a car or truck online and get any real information?

I shopped a number of national brand dealer websites in search of specific information regarding the features and the price of an actual vehicle.

What I discovered, is that almost all car dealerships are still focused on the 1960-70 model of retail sales of vehicles.

That's the model where they get you into the showroom, hook you up with a salesperson, you pick out a vehicle and then spend the next three hours while this salesperson runs back and forth across the showroom trying to get your deal approved by the sales manager.

Sound familiar?

The longer I shopped the more frustrated I became.

Most irritating of all there's that little pop-up chat box, where the top title is the name of whatever dealership you happen to be looking at and there is a picture of somebody but more than likely not the person, you're going to be talking to with a chat request.

If you want to have one of the most useless conversations that you will probably ever have in 2022, just click that chat box and start asking questions.

The first question I would suggest that you ask after the cheery voice on the other end says hello is: “Where are you located?” And see if you get an answer.

I tried several and found virtually every chat room just an attempt to drag me down to the dealership and get me in the old “let's run around the showroom” model of car sales.

In one instance, I actually got to what appeared to be a Buyers Agreement then only to be told I'll have to come into the dealership to sign all the papers and get “the final details” of the transaction. I went to the dealership, and that deal ended up falling through when it turned out the dealer didn't have and could not get the model of vehicle, they had offered to sell me online.

What I did receive from virtually every dealer was numerous emails and texts from various salespeople, in the case of one dealership, I got five text and emails from five different salespeople encouraging me to quickly come to the dealership, and they would be happy to assist me with my purchase. The web site is just a lead generator. Right back to the old let's play patty cake with the sales manager automotive sales method.

I'm not sure why these dealerships spend all this money on these websites when they don't use them to actually sell something.

 It appears to me at least, that this is just another newspaper ad in an electronic format to create a lead or get you into the dealership, so they can manhandle you during the sales process.

For now, I've given up my online search to acquire a new vehicle. The lease on my current truck doesn't expire for five or six months and perhaps by then I'll feel more like going to the dealership, but I'm not going to waste a whole lot of time with their useless websites.

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