As cars become more technologically advanced, it’s only natural that the sales processes used to distribute them will evolve as well.


There are few truly analogue parts left in the modern car, with infotainment systems replacing the humble cassette player and the electric engine doing its best to disrupt over 100 years of internal combustion.

This demand for digital solutions is forecast to shape the automotive retail market as well. Technology research firm Frost & Sullivan has termed the development “bricks and clicks” – a combination of traditional physical stores with emerging e-commerce technology.

At this stage, the firm is estimating total investment in these technologies (mobile connections in vehicles) to fall somewhere between the $500 million to $5 billion mark as the demand spreads throughout Europe and North America first.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the number of people who visit car dealerships has been in decline for the last two decades, which Team Leader Neelam Barua believes is the catalyst for this desire for a multi-channel strategy.

“The challenge for automotive OEMs is not only to devise a new sales strategy, which could bring down the total cost of the vehicle, but also to maintain the same customer loyalty level as before,” he said.

“To achieve these ends, OEMs will introduce multiple touch points to the car purchase process by 2016.”

The research coincides with a massive growth in the amount of money spent in alternate payment methods such as e-commerce. According to research from AT​ Kearney, global e-commerce sales jumped from just below US$700 billion in 2013 to nearly $840 billion by the end of 2014.

The firm found that the US is currently the international market leader for e-commerce platforms, which ties in with Frost & Sullivan’s predictions that US automotive dealers will lead the charge for new retail strategies.