E-commerce growth is becoming increasingly important in markets today and this includes e-commerce in the automotive industry

What is the definition of e-commerce within the automotive world? 

Buying a car online has happened in very small pockets around the world which is not a market norm. Just as AutoTrader produced a magazine and went through a digital transformation to being an online business. This has allowed consumers to search for cars and in very few instances, buy a car online and allowed dealerships to adjust. This digital transformation resulted in growth in digitizing the consumer shopping journey within AutoTrader’s business. 

Fulfilment will likely always happen offline for a car. Because consumers want to feel and touch and drive before buying a car. Therefore the OEM and car dealerships are still paramount in the automotive industry the world over. 

How to position your business for accelerated e-commerce growth

1. The first thing is every e-commerce business should realize, is that Google is your competitor. 

If your business is getting most of its traffic and conversion from Google, you’re making the business vulnerable because that can be taken away in an instant. 

Your business can mitigate this risk by not making Google the enemy. But merely realise that Google is still a potential competitor. Being in the automotive industry for the past 18 years I have learned that the reason businesses are on the google “drug” is that they are focused on immediate retail sales. It is important to focus your attention on the immediate sale of tomorrow. Because your business needs to make revenue, make a profit and keep the lights on. 

But, if your business is not building a brand in the background, you are putting your business at risk and creating massive vulnerability that will affect your business’s long-term e-commerce growth.

AutoTrader made the decision to build a brand that consumers can trust. By doing this the business has created one of the most recognisable brands in the world and within the automotive industry. 

2. The second thing is bringing more of that car buying journey online. 

There are many buying journeys of many goods that are still being done offline and are difficult to digitise. Consumer fulfillment in many instances will still happen more offline than it will online. Which in essence affects your business’s e-commerce growth as a whole. 

How do we solve this online to offline purchase in e-commerce? 

Understanding the buying journey both online and offline is the most important thing that will help with your business’s e-commerce growth – the destination (online sale) is not as important as the journey. The car-buying journey will likely not happen entirely online for a very long time if ever.