4 Things Car Dealerships Can Learn From Amazon

E Commerce for Your Dealership

It’s a good thing you can’t buy new cars on Amazon.

The online merchandising giant does an amazing job with the purchase journey. Not only does their marketing support the sales, but the online shopping experience is easy. When you view an item, you first get images often from different angles, inside and out. Once you narrow down your choices, you find comments and reviews— social proof that the item works as advertised. Then in your final stages, comparing accessories and pricing is almost too simple.

If Amazon sold cars, dealerships wouldn’t exist other than to offer test drives. 

In a cart-before-horse race, spending too much capital on an e-commerce solution before your dealership is ready is like buying a cash register before you have retail space. Worrying about how people are going to pay you before you have something for sale will be costly.

So, what can we learn from the Amazon?

Start small

Amazon didn’t always have everything from A to Z. They started in 1994 by selling books from a garage. Your dealership has cars. Start there, and don’t get caught up trying to have a massive virtual warehouse with nothing in it.

Invest in a Shopping solution, not just a shopping cart

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, wanted his creation to be more than just an online retailer. That’s why he added a review system early on so he could build his online community. If you don’t have enough content on your website to shop, then why do you think someone would go through the process of buying anything at all?

Take the time to build a solid website first with backend software that can be easily modified later.


Merchandise everything

There is a science behind merchandising, and everything Amazon does keeps this in mind. Look at their logo, and you can see the effort that they put into even the small things. There is a smile that goes from the A to Z to imply that they’re willing to deliver anything to anywhere.

Everything— from product placement and colour to the amount of information that’s available for product support— is important to the sale. You do this for your physical retail space already; now you need to emulate that online. This includes comments, reviews, and most importantly, the clear cost of the vehicle.

Support without sales

We’ve said it before; the sales journey is changing. Car buyers don’t want pushy salespeople jumping on them. You need knowledgeable sales advisors available to support the client with anything they need. It takes 15 seconds to find the customer support section on Amazon, and then you’re presented with several options to solve your issues. This process is fast, friendly, and efficient. Your website should offer that same service— whether it’s via email, telephone, or chat interface.

E Commerce can be an amazing sales generator, but it is not always the best answer.

Don’t get caught up in the e-commerce revolution— build the sales portal before you have something for sale. Protect your dealership from the shady operators who arrive with flashy sales pitches offering the newest tools or solutions. Much like your marketing plan, which we have discussed before, spend your time in the earlier stages to understand the problem first.


Grab people you know; your family, your friends, even your mother, and send them to your website to shop. After they spend time on the website, test them for what they learned. Do they know the difference between a standard and limited model? Can they qualify themselves? Do they want a moonroof or winter tires?

Create a website that supports the purchase journey, and don’t waste money on the backend if you have no front shop. When you have the support in place, you can develop a solution that’s best for you and your clients so they can complete that journey on their terms.


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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