Did the Pandemic Shorten the Path to a More Transactional Dealership Website?

Covid-19 hit like a shock wave in March 2020, shutting down dealerships, impelling them to adopt digital retailing (DR) as a low-touch transaction alternative to the legacy, showroom-based car buying experience. As an eLEND Solutions survey reveals, the pandemic also helped evolve the perception of DR from an enhanced lead generation tool to a deal generator—accelerating the transactional nature of dealership websites by shifting the desired end point of a digital retailing experience more down funnel.


Lead Gen to Deal Gen

Auto dealer addiction to lead generation is no secret in the industry and, pre-pandemic, what was passing for digital retailing was really just ‘enhanced’ lead generation. Over 50% of auto dealerships say they view digital retailing as the start of the deal—a significant pandemic-driven perception shift.

It’s likely that, without a pandemic, this perception shift—and its impact on adoption— could have taken up to five years.

Digital Path to Purchase Advances

And, dealer acceptance of digital retailing as the start of the deal is further supported by their opinions that the desired end point (or relative finish) of their digital path to purchase experiences extend much farther down funnel than just first pencil.

What best describes the DR desired end point at your dealership’s website today?


More Transactional Websites

This has all led to a sea change in dealership website functionality to support the required (or necessary) shift to Digital Retailing.

The industry’s rapid adoption of digital path-to-purchase experiences to meet consumers demands for a low-touch transaction is a silver lining of COVID-19’s impact on business.


DR Adoption Challenges

But that DR adoption has not been without its challenges: dealers reported that the hardest part of transitioning was not technology, not even training—but ‘process change.’


To access the full survey report "The Pandemic Drove a Great Leap Forward In Digital Retailing Adoption," visit:

To download eLEND's first infographic in the two-part series, "The Great Leap Forward in Digital Retailing Adoption: Blessing or a Curse?," visit: elendsolutions.com/infographic/great-leap-forward-in-digital-retailing

Methodology: Online survey fielded among
automotive dealers across the US in Q4 2020.

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