Did you know that, by the end of 2020, the number of cars registered in the US is expected to reach over 287 million?
There’s no doubt that us Americans love our cars, and for good reason too! They’ve revolutionized the way we live, making travel easier and connecting us to parts of the world that once would’ve been impossible to get to. But, interestingly, what we don’t love is buying them.
The thought of visiting a dealership is enough to make most people squirm. But what about used car websites? This online method of picking up a new car is actually disrupting the traditional industry and could be the way that we all browse and buy in the future.
Find out more about how car shopping online is revolutionizing the way we look at buying used cars.
The Problem With Traditional Car Shopping
When looking for the best place to buy used cars, there isn’t really any other option than a car dealership, right? Sure, you could take your chances with a Facebook sale or a dodgy ad in the paper, but the chances of that going wrong are pretty high. The truth is, dealerships are the only place you can feel safe handing over quite a big wad of cash for a car – until now, of course.
But, as everyone knows, car dealerships aren’t exactly the most pleasant place in the world. If you’d rather take a trip to the dentist than visit a car dealership, you’re not alone! There are so many problems with traditional car shopping, starting with the pushy sales tactic.
As soon as you enter a dealership, you’re pounced on by a sleazy salesperson. Their only aim is to shake as much money out of your pockets as they can, and they’re not afraid to use any tactic to get their way! But this doesn’t make for a good shopping experience for consumers.
People are worried about getting fooled by a salesperson or pressured into a deal they don’t want. It’s also not super enjoyable to have someone breathing down your neck as you browse – who thought that would be a good idea? There are also issues with the traditional price haggling setup, which a lot of people just don’t want.
In Comes the Pandemic
There were already a host of problems with car dealerships, and when Covid-19 struck in America, things only got worse. With an active pandemic, there were very few people left who still wanted a face-to-face interaction when buying a new car. The thought of having to haggle and deal with a greased-up salesperson was now accompanied by the possibility of catching a deadly virus.
People didn’t want to or simply couldn’t go outside. So, the way we buy cars had to change.
What Do People Want?
So we’ve worked out what people don’t want when buying a car, but what about what people do want?
Up first is a hassle-free experience. Car buyers don’t want to feel stressed out or anxious at the prospect of buying a new vehicle. It should be easy and you should feel comfortable.
People also want to browse in their own time. They don’t want to feel rushed around the showroom or being pushed to pay attention to certain cars instead of the ones they want to look at. If you’re buying a car, you should be able to take your time and look at how many or how few you want to.
A lot of car buyers don’t want to haggle on price anymore, either. They don’t want to be hassled by salespeople, and they want a simple process when it comes to payment and contract signing. Easy returns and a good warranty are also must-haves.
So, where is this ideal place to buy a car? It’s online, and it’s already changing the car industry in a big way.
What are Online Used Car Websites?
Used car websites are exactly what they say on the tin; a place online to buy used cars online. There are many mysteries in the car industry, like how to avoid being fooled by a salesperson and why men love cars so much, but these sites keep things simple and straightforward.
Rather than heading down to a dealership, you can plant yourself on your couch, open up your laptop, and order a car without an ounce of stress on the best online car buying sites. Everything, from the browsing of vehicles to the signing of a contract, is done without the need for a face-to-face meeting at all.
If you’re wondering where can I sell my car online? you can usually do it on used car sites, too. Of course, if it’s damaged and inoperable then they may not accept it, but operable cars should be good to go! If you want to move your car from the driveway before your new one arrives, look for car buying websites that offer trade-ins.
Of course, the way each online car sales site works is a little different. To dig deeper into the new concept and how it could change the game, let’s take a look at some of the best used cars websites on the web.
Example 1: Vroom.com
Vroom is a solid contender in the online car game and one of the best used car sites, letting you completely skip the dealership. They first launched in 2013 with the aim of creating a site that encompasses the whole journey of getting a new vehicle, including selling your old one, researching for a new one, and buying the model you choose. According to their own about page, they have over 3,000 cars available to buy, with over 400 makes and models.
They also claim over 250,000 customers, which is pretty impressive! They’re a legitimate site to buy a car online, and they’ve made the process very simple.
Buying a Car on Vroom
Vroom car sales are completely safe and stress-free. When browsing for vehicles you can filter the results to only see cars in your price range or in the make you’re interested in. Once you’ve found a car, you can pay with three different options:
- Debit card
- Vroom financing
- Third-party financing
You’ll also have to provide your contact details, submit your driver’s license, and supply them with any other necessary documents when car shopping online. With Vroom, you can even trade-in your own current vehicle as you buy your new one, making the whole process incredibly simple! When your financing is completed, you’ll receive a contract to sign and the car will be all yours.
Before your car is shipped, it’ll undergo a final inspection to make sure everything’s as it should be. It’ll then be shipped out via a courier and should be with you within 2 weeks of signing your contract. Once you have it, the company will help you with registration and getting it out onto the road, although temporary tags mean it’ll be ready for use as soon as it lands on your driveway.
Selling Your Car on Vroom
If you’re looking for the best car buying sites, the process is fuss-free on Vroom. Here’s what you’ll have to do:
- Fill out a form with details and photos of your vehicle
- In less than 30 minutes during business hours, you’ll be given a guaranteed offer
- When you accept the offer Vroom will arrange to pick up your car
- You’ll be paid via a direct deposit
You don’t even have to leave your house to sell your car – what a world we live in!
Example 2: Carvana.com
If you’re on the hunt for the best used car websites, we have to include Carvana! When it comes to where to buy used cars, Carvana online car dealers are a favorite of many.
Launched in 2012, this company has become one of the most notable in the online car industry. If your car is on its last tire, you can trust Carvana to sort you out with a shiny new vehicle in no time.
Available as an app, this really is one of the easiest ways to buy a car. It makes buying a new Mercedes or Ford as simple as ordering a pepperoni pizza! All of the cars on Carvana are rigorously tested and have never been in any sort of accidents, and you can expect dealership-quality to turn up on your driveway.
The app is super simple to navigate and you can use a whole bunch of filters to only view cars that fit your exact specifications. These can be as specific as cars that include sound systems or heated seats! You can also reserve cars as you browse, holding them as you check them out to stop somebody else from snapping them up.
The cars pop up like they’re on a revolving display. People grab the cheaper models quickly, so you have to have your wits about you and lightning-fast reflexes to make sure you get the car you like. But, once you’re accustomed to the fast-pace, it becomes easy to filter out what’s suitable and what isn’t.
Buying a Car on Carvana
Once you’ve selected the car of your dreams, you’ll be asked for the usual documents. Then, it’s time to pay. On Carvana, you can again pay either upfront or with a loan which you can get fairly easily through the company. You can also trade in your old car to get the price of your new one down, which is handy if you’re low on cash.
Once you’ve secured your new vehicle, you can select a delivery date from those they have available. The delivery from Carvana is where things get really exciting.
There are 25 vending machine locations around the country that Carnava has. When you arrive at your machine, you place a coin into it and your selected car will come out – just like buying a candy bar! If you want to, you can then test-drive the car for 20 minutes before deciding whether or not to keep it.
If you don’t have a vending machine near you, don’t worry. Carvana also offers regular delivery of vehicles straight to your door.
Selling a Car on Carvana
As used car websites go, Carvana certainly isn’t a bad option – but you do have to be, or drive to, the local market. If you can do this, then great! If not, Carvana isn’t going to be the option for you.
To sell your car, you’ll provide all the necessary details and Carvana will give you an offer. You’ll then need to take your car to a Carvana rep who will make sure all the details are correct and they’re happy to go ahead with the sale.
Example 3: Shift.com
If the above used car websites aren’t to your tastes, what about Shift? This is another website that’s designed to make buying used cars easy, letting you pick a new vehicle from the comfort of your home. With a 150+ point inspection process and detailed information about any imperfections on the car before you buy it, they pride themselves on delivering vehicles that are problem-free.
Shift really takes the stress out of buying a car. They deal with everything from DMV forms to transfers and registration, leaving you with nothing to do but sign! They have super helpful Concierges whose sole job is to make the process simple for you.
They also have the best car buying app out there according to a lot of people. Whether you’re hunting for used celebrity cars or simply local cars for sale, Shift makes it simple.
Buying a Car on Shift
Shift doesn’t have the same fast-paced reserving process at Carvana, so it might be better if you enjoy a more relaxed shopping experience. When viewing your car, you can take your time going through the extensive information Shift provides.If you want to, you can also order a test drive on a day of your choice before you go through the buying process, which you can’t on the other sites.
Buying the car is simple and comes with financing options. With tailored plans, they make it very easy to get a car on your terms. Once you’ve ordered your car, it’s delivered straight to your home.
Selling a Car on Shift
Selling a car on shift is just the same as on Vroom. You pass the details over to Shift, they give you an offer, and if you accept they pick it up from you. Simple!
Example 4: Carmax.com
There’s no doubt that Carmax is one of the most well-known and best online car buying websites out there! Their website boasts a range of 50,000 quality cars for you to pick from, offering a huge range of choices to suit every lifestyle and budget. They also report spending an average of 15 hours working on each car to make sure it’s up to their strict standards.
Buying a Car on Carmax
One of the standouts of Carmax is that they have both online and in-store shopping. This means that, if you want, you can browse the cars online before heading to the store to check them out before you make a purchase. If you don’t enjoy the dealership but like to try before you buy, Carmax is the happy medium you’ve been looking for!
If you don’t like to go to the Carmax store, you definitely don’t have to. Carmax also functions in the same way as the other used car websites. You pick your car, buy it, and it’s delivered to your door.
Selling a Car on Carmax
Unfortunately for loves of couch-based buying and selling, you can’t sell your car online at Carmax. Instead, you’ll have to take it to one of their many locations across the country. Here, they’ll assess your car before giving you an offer that you can either accept or deny.
The Boom in Online Car Sales
These four are just a handful of many companies out there who are disrupting the car sales industry. It’s clear that the way people like to shop is changing, particularly with the arrival of Coronavirus.
In 2019, for example, just 1% of used car sales were made online. This year, Carvana, Vroom, and Shift boosted their sales in the first half of 2020 by over 35%, blowing that 1% out of the water. Whilst many car dealerships reported massive hits to their profits this year, the online car sellers thrived.
40% of American car buyers now say they’d be happy to buy a car online and skip the dealership completely. This is, of course, in part because of the virus, but also because of companies like Carvana and Shift. If they didn’t exist when the pandemic struck, outdated systems would’ve made cars almost impossible to buy and the switch to online would’ve been much slower.
Will the Trend Continue After Coronavirus?
Life changed drastically for a lot of people during the pandemic, and many are still adjusting. It’s true that the virus shone a light on online used car website sales, but that doesn’t mean they’ll fade away when life returns to normal – whatever that may be.
We’ve already spoken about how much people dislike car dealerships, and that isn’t going to change. People didn’t want to shop at them before the virus either, they just weren’t aware there was another option. Now that they are, why would they go back?
It’s also important to note that the majority of other industries have gone online, too. Before online clothing stores, you probably wouldn’t dream of buying a pair of pants without trying them first. But now it’s the norm, and people like it.
From groceries to greetings cards, you can get almost anything online these days. It’s convenient and simple in a busy world, which is exactly what consumers want. Even after the virus, people will still enjoy the comfort of shopping from home.
The truth is that Covid-19 didn’t make online car sales companies successful. They were already thriving and the virus simply provided them with a boost. It’s unlikely that this success will vanish when Coronavirus becomes a memory.
In reality, car dealerships are what needs to change when the pandemic is over. They need to jump on board the digital train and start offering consumers a different way to shop, following the online retailers. Carmax is a great example of what the future of car sales will likely look like.
But is it Really the Same?
When it comes to who buys used cars, there’s a huge market. Both women and men love cars and need them, and a used car website search engine makes the process of researching how much does a car cost? and finding the right vehicle so much easier.
But, even after all of the benefits already listed, we’re sure there will still be skeptics out there! Any change can be disruptive and unnerving, and when it comes to car sales most of us are used to going about them in a certain way. Could buying online really work as well as going into a dealership.
The short answer is yes, it definitely can. This is partly because you don’t need to see a vehicle up close now before you buy it. Cameras are now good enough to take realistic photos and videos of cars, giving you a good look at a car without walking out your front door.
Cars are also much more reliable than they used to be. Even the cheaper models are likely to run well and be comfortable, giving you less of an incentive to go and check them out or try before you buy. Even if something is wrong, the warranties offered by companies like Carmax and Shift should ease any doubts.
Most of the online companies offer returns policies, just like another online retailer. If you’re not happy with your car when you get it, all you have to do is send it back for a full refund. Both Carvana and Vroom offer seven-days for returns, and Carvana also gives a 100-day period of ‘worry-free’ driving where they’ll sort out any major problems free of charge.
Change can be hard to adjust to, but we need it to keep the world moving forward. The likes of the online car sites we’ve talked about are bringing a big change to the industry, but it’s a welcome one. If the pandemic proved anything, it’s that the world needs a backup, and these online car dealers have a small part to play in that.
Where Will You Buy Your Next Car?
We know that not everyone will embrace the idea of used car websites, but a lot of people are already making the switch. No more sleazy salespeople, no more negotiating prices, and no more deals you don’t want; what could be better than that?
If you buy a car online that you need to be delivered, make sure to check out National Transport Services for delivery you can rely on. For more information, feel free to get in touch with our team today.