back to articles | June 01, 2022 | Staci Bailey

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Buying & Selling Cars Vehicle & Buying Research

Visiting the Dealership or Car Buying Delivery Service?

Online car delivery services have become more popular in recent years. Buying a car online does seem convenient but is it a viable replacement for shopping at a dealership? As with most things there are pros and cons to each option. Read on for our rundown on shopping at the car dealership vs shopping online.


Online car delivery services have become more popular in recent years. Buying a car online does seem convenient but is it a viable replacement for shopping at a dealership? As with most things there are pros and cons to each option. Read on for our rundown on shopping at the car dealership vs shopping online.

Pros Of Shopping At The Car Dealership

Face To Face Communication

Some people prefer to communicate over the phone or through email, but others like the human touch. Dealing with real people at the car dealership means no talking to chatbots and no waiting on hold when you need help. Face to face conversations allow you to make connections and build relationships.

Expert Advice

Car salespeople have a reputation for pushy and aggressive sales tactics but that isn’t always the case. Many are very knowledgeable and can be a helpful asset during your car buying experience. Shopping at the dealership allows you to tap in to their years of experience and get an expert opinion. Car dealers can help you find the right vehicle and answer questions you didn’t even know to ask.

Test Drive Before You Buy

The best way to figure out if a vehicle will suit your needs is to take it for a spin. When you shop at a dealership you can test drive either the exact car you want to purchase, or a car just like it. This allows you to see how you feel driving the car, learn where the controls are, find out if it’s comfortable for you, and get a better idea of the size and shape of it. Test driving the vehicle can give you good insight into the car’s functionality and can help you decide if it’s the right purchase for you.

Dealer Financing

Many car dealerships offer on site vehicle financing. Generally speaking the loan options offered at the point of sale are not a great deal but they can sometimes be a good option for borrowers with poor credit. At the very least, the dealership can offer you additional options to choose from.

Room To Negotiate

Most dealerships will allow you to negotiate on the price. If you fancy yourself a good negotiator, you can save a nice chunk of change and land a great deal on your new car. Dealerships may also offer additional features at no charge as incentives to sweeten the deal.

Cons Of Shopping At The Car Dealership

High Pressure Sales Tactics

If you would prefer to not deal with car salespeople, you’re not alone. They have a reputation for being aggressive in their sales tactics. For some people this high pressure approach leads to a negative car buying experience and they end up stuck with a vehicle they never wanted.

Limited Selection

A car dealership does not stock every make and model of car there is. When you opt to shop in person you are limited to what the dealership has on the lot. While you can order a car with specific options and features, your choices will probably be limited to one manufacturer plus whatever trade-ins happen to be sitting around.

Time Consuming

Buying a vehicle from a dealership takes time. Talking to salespeople and negotiating a sale can easily take an hour. With something as important as a car purchase, you’re likely to want to shop around and that means driving from one dealer to another if you want to compare options and prices. Travel time alone can take up most of the day.

Pros Of Shopping Online

Shop From The Comfort Of Home

Buying a car online allows you to buy a car without having to move off your couch. Shopping from the comfort and privacy of your living room has its perks. No need to get ready to go out when you can shop at home and have your new car shipped to your driveway.

Shop At Your Own Pace

Shopping online means you can go at your own speed. Have a pressing matter to attend to? Go take care of it and resume your car search when you have more time. Not ready to make a decision? No problem! Take some time to think it through and pick up where you left off when you’re ready.

Find the Best Deal

It’s easy to compare prices when they are clearly laid out right in front of you. There’s no need to visit every dealership in town to get the best deal. Buying a car online allows you to do the legwork right from your phone or computer to conveniently compare prices and features with ease.

More Cars To Choose From

With online shopping you can access an almost unlimited number of cars. Since you don’t have to drive to the dealership, a much larger geographic location becomes available to your car search. Websites specializing in vehicle sales are not limited to one particular manufacturer, allowing you to search and compare makes and models in one place.

Low Pressure

Buying a car online allows you to bypass salespeople altogether. No pushy dealer trying to get you to buy the first car you look at. You can take your time, do your research, and compare specs and prices at your own pace. There is nobody there to pressure you or use sales tactics to get you to buy before you’re ready. You set the pace and you instigate the purchase.

Cons Of Shopping Online

No Room To Negotiate

When you’re buying a car online you generally don’t have the option to negotiate. There is nobody to discuss the price with so you can’t talk them down. The price you see is what you will have to pay.

No Test Drive Before Purchase

Not only can you not drive the car before you buy, you can’t even see it in person until after purchase. This is a major turn off for a lot of people and with just cause. It’s scary to buy something like a vehicle sight unseen. Some car delivery services do give you a trial period with the option to return the vehicle but that’s no replacement for the try before you buy approach.

Have To Wait For The Car

Unless you ordered your car with custom options at the dealership, you may be able to drive it off the lot after purchase. This is not the case when buying a car online. After you make your purchase you must wait for the car to be delivered to you.

There is no clear winner when comparing shopping at a car dealership or buying a car online. Each option has strengths as well as weaknesses. The best choice for you will depend on your preferences and shopping style.

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