Women are more likely to purchase a new car on-line than men for a variety of reasons; pressure from pushy sales people and time saving being at the top of the list. Women can feel “stressed,” “overwhelmed,” “taken advantage” and “panic” about their dealership experience, so using on-line shopping tools is an obvious alternative.
I set out to look at the on-line shopping tools currently available on the websites of the major Australian car company’s to see how easy these tools were to use and how fast I could actually purchase a new car. The answer is under a minute and the website that enabled me to do this was KIA. I would rate KIA’s website 9 out of 10 for ease of use and speed to the check out. Simply select the model, grade, colour and review your summary and then order on-line, job done!
The next easiest site I found to use was Tesla and this should not be a surprise considering this is their primary means of selling a car. On the Tesla website I could view both available inventory and build a brand new vehicle to my specification and order it online. Overall I would give the Tesla site an 8 out of 10 for their on-line shopping experience.
I rated the Skoda and Subaru sites 7 out of 10. Skoda only allows you to search and purchase vehicles that are in stock and this is a relatively easy process to do. Subaru allows you to build your own vehicle and then go on to order it on-line to be delivered directly to your door.
There were then a number of sites that I found a little harder to navigate and use, so I gave them all 6 out of 10. Toyota’s on-line buying tool was a bit difficult for me to navigate at first, but once I worked it out the process was relatively simple to order my new Toyota on-line. With the Hyundai website I still needed to go through a ‘negotiation’ process on-line and I did not like having to do this step.
For Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, who all got 5 out of 10, I could only use their on-line buying tool for stock only and for Mercedes-Benz this was electric vehicle stock only. Each of these sites had their quibbles and none of them were the easiest to navigate in my opinion.
I gave the Volkswagen website a score of 3 out of 10 because it took far too many steps to customise my preferred VW vehicle and then I only got a code to take to a VW dealer to complete the purchase. So for me this is not a buy on-line tool but rather a build and price tool.
The worst performing website for buying on-line was a real surprise to me, Genesis Australia. Genesis have built their business model on something similar to Tesla in that you are meant to be able to purchase your car on-line and have it delivered to your door and as such they only have Studios rather than traditional dealerships. When I tried to do this on their website on my desktop computer all I got was a ‘death scroll’ and nothing loaded for me after I selected ‘Build and Price’. It worked better for me on my phone, but even then there was no simply ‘on-line shopping’ button and I had to go into the model selection and build and price the vehicle from there.
Many of the other brands in Australia have a ‘build and price’ feature on their websites including Mazda, Mitsubishi, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Porsche, Renault, Suzuki and Volvo and these all vary in their ease of use.
In addition to going directly to a car company’s website you can also use an app like CARDEALS2ME. With this free service all you need to do is select the Make/ Model/ Colour/ Transmission & State or Territory, of the car you want to buy. Then allow about two business hours for the responses to be delivered back to you, browse the range of best offers that local dealerships can offer you anonymously, choose the best deal that suits your needs and buy the car!
Considering that women spend a large amount of time researching their new car purchase, and are part of 80-85% of all new car sales either as the direct purchaser or with their partner, then the ease of use of a car company’s website is something that they should take very seriously.
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.