I recently read a Wall Street Journal article about how, starting this year, you’ll be able to buy Hyundai vehicles on Amazon. Yes, you read that right. Amazon will allow users to browse, finance and complete the purchase of a Hyundai vehicle entirely on Amazon’s website, only needing to visit their local dealership when picking it up — though the article said “the company is working on delivering the vehicles.”
Buying a car online isn’t exactly a new concept. Look at Carvana, which will deliver a used car right to your front door. But financing and purchasing a brand new car through a third party is a whole different ball game.
So what if you woke up tomorrow and your OEM had your tractor lineup for sale on Amazon?
Well, besides the logistical headache that would likely come from coordinating with Amazon on getting the equipment to your dealership, I could see this only worsening one problem: customers believing they want one machine, not realizing they need a different one.
When a weekend warrior walks in asking to look at something that doesn’t fit their needs (e.g. more horsepower than they need, a tractor can’t use the attachments they’ll likely need down the line), your sales team’s ability to direct them to the appropriate model — based on years of experience — disappears when the purchase process begins on Amazon’s search bar.
At the end of the day, the reality is that e-commerce is growing exponentially and encroaching on markets never before thought possible. The pandemic, coupled with younger generations entering the market as more serious consumers, shifted consumer preferences away from face-to-face interactions, even for what most would consider to be “very important” purchases, like automobiles. And whether we like it or not, our industry needs to be ready to handle these customers and make sure the benefits of working with a dealership are made clear and easy to understand.
This whole topic reminds me of some dealer opinions I heard last summer. At the 2023 Dealership Minds Summit, I sat in on a roundtable discussion titled, “Consumer Sales Focus: Compact Equipment & Rural Lifestyle.” In it, dealers aired their concerns related to this very issue. Younger consumers don’t want to come into the dealership. If they do, they’d rather be in and out quickly, having already made up their mind on the purchase after extensive online research. And if they end up on your dealership’s website, it’s hard to translate their web traffic into a sale. Dealers swapped some tips and tricks during the hour-long session, but many issues didn’t have cut-and-dry solutions.
(FYI: Federico Lamas of Virginia Tractor — who was in that Dealership Minds Summit roundtable last fall — is going to present some best practices on selling rural lifestyle equipment online at our 2024 Dealer Success Academy.)
I’d like to hear from you, our readers, on this topic. What do you think of the Hyundai/Amazon partnership? Do you see a world where this happens with tractors and other rural lifestyle equipment as well? Will you be among those first Hyundai fans to buy a car on Amazon? Please send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.