”Digical” Shopping: How to Navigate the New Hybrid Approach to Car Buying

3 Key Takeaways:

  • Hybrid Car Buying Experience: Modern customers prefer a blend of digital convenience and in-person assurance when purchasing cars, reflecting the demand for a “digical” approach.
  • Digital Tools Enhance Confidence: Utilizing online resources for research, financing, and comparison shopping empowers buyers and streamlines the purchasing process.
  • Importance of Dealership Interaction: Despite the rise of digital tools, the physical dealership experience, particularly for test drives and finalizing purchases, remains crucial.

Navigating the New Wave of Car Buying: A Digical Approach

Just like everything these days, car buying has moved online. The convenience of browsing, comparing, and even initiating the purchase of a new vehicle online has been warmly embraced by consumers. However, this doesn’t signal the end for traditional dealerships. Instead, a new hybrid model, referred to as “digical” — a combination of digital and physical — is emerging as the preferred method in modern car buying.


Building Buyer Confidence with Digital Tools

Digital platforms offer a wealth of information, enabling customers to conduct thorough research, compare models, and understand financing options from the comfort of their homes. This self-service approach not only saves time but also reduces the pressure often associated with dealership visits. 

However, the digital journey doesn’t end with research. Many buyers are moving towards completing financing applications online, underscoring the importance of digital tools in enhancing buyer confidence and streamlining the purchase process.


The Test Drive Transformation

Despite the digital convenience, the role of the physical dealership remains undiminished. For many, the experience of seeing the car in person, taking it for a test drive, and having face-to-face interactions with knowledgeable staff is indispensable. This blend of online preparation and in-dealership experience caters to the buyers’ need for a comprehensive understanding and feel of the vehicle before making a commitment.


Embracing the Digical Model

The “digical” buying experience is here to stay, so it’s important for your business to adapt. These steps can help you succeed in the new environment:

  1. Make sure your dealership is equipped with the latest digital tools. Two-thirds of car buyers would like more digital tools such as online finance options and live chat.
  2. Train your staff to be friendly and knowledgeable in building trust with customers.
  3. Certify that pricing online matches the price quoted in the dealership and that there are no surprise costs.
  4. Build positive online reviews and promptly respond to those that aren’t so positive to maintain trust among your potential customers.


In conclusion, the digical approach to car buying reflects a broader trend towards hybrid consumer experiences, where digital efficiency meets physical authenticity. By embracing this model, dealerships can meet evolving customer expectations, offering a shopping experience that is both convenient and reassuring.

About The Colorado Auto Dealers Association (CADA) 

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) was established in 1933 by a group of dealers to challenge a federal excise tax, leading to its incorporation in 1938. As a trade association, CADA actively advocates on behalf of the auto industry, particularly Colorado auto dealers, and the state’s driving public, tackling a range of legislative and regulatory complexities. 

We keep dealers informed through publications, Above the Fold, the Bulletin (see archives), and LinkedIn updates. Additionally, CADA focuses on education, helping dealers stay compliant and informed about new legislation and trends impacting the industry, especially after the legislative term concludes each May.


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