Stages in car buying journey

Stages in Car Buying Journey

The automobile industry has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. Innovation and digitization are changing the industry completely, altering the consumer behavior and perception.

The influence of digital is to such an extent that about 60% of consumers spend their time researching online before actually stepping into a dealership.

Buying a car is one of the most important financial decisions in a customer’s lifetime. Therefore, buyers take quite a long time to consider their decision.

Car shoppers go through various stages in the buyer cycle called the “Car Buying Journey” before actually making the final purchase.

To introduce your dealership to the potential buyer, you can’t just wait for them to come to you. Since they interact with various touchpoints before visiting a dealership, you need to interact with buyers at an early stage of the process.

According to Google, a car shopper can have about 900+ digital interactions between the research to the final purchase. So, car dealerships need to ensure they are leveraging every digital touchpoint to influence buyers’ decisions.

Inside Buyer’s Mind: 3 Stages in Car Buying Journey

In this blog, we’ll go through three main stages of the car buyers’ journey in detail.


Before the buyer’s journey begins, they are mostly unaware of the vehicle they want to purchase. So, they go online to find a suitable vehicle that fits in their budget and list of requirements.

About 95% of car shoppers use online as a source of information. During this time, buyers thoroughly research the various makes and models in different budget brackets.

Car buyers online research infographic

In this stage, the buyer goes through various sources to find the perfect vehicle for them:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Comparison sites
  • E-books
  • Social media posts

During their online research, you (as a dealership) need to ensure that you can help them navigate through the journey.

Also, you need to provide detailed information regarding potential vehicles they might want to buy. This will enable them to make an informed decision and move to the next step.

Expanding digital presence with AI image editing

Use high-quality images to help customers explore vehicles online. Multiple car images from different angles and 360 videos can provide immersive detailing of the vehicle. 90% of car buyers consider photos extremely important in making the purchase decision.


Before buyers reach the consideration stage, they are aware of the solutions that the market offers and know what can fix their challenges. In this stage, buyers will go further in determining the best deals and the options available.

The potential buyers will gather all kinds of information at this phase of the car-buying journey. By the end of it, they are aware of all the potential solutions that are relevant and fit their needs.

During the buyer’s consideration phase, car dealerships can tap the opportunity and reach out to them through Google Ads or Social media ads. Leveraging digital power can shape customers’ buying decisions in your favor.

online car search infographic

This is also the stage where customers should be confident about their purchase decision. They usually prefer visiting dealerships, but 40% of buyers are likely to purchase a vehicle based on images they view online without seeing the vehicle in person.

This gives dealerships an opportunity to use high-quality photos and videos to influence car buyers’ purchase decisions.

  • Use high-quality, sleek, and clean car images
  • Display multiple car angles for a better perspective
  • In the case of used cars (use hotspots to highlight scratches and dents)
  • Use 360 interior and exterior spin videos for immersive experiences

What kind of images is important in a car buying journey?

For new car buyers, cockpit and dashboard images are most important, while used car buyers rank images of odometer and car condition as the essential points.

Decision (or Final Purchase)

This is the last stage in the buyer’s car buying process. By this point, the buyer is ready for the purchase. However, buyers are still considering where and how to buy the car and more than half of the shoppers prefer to buy from a dealership that offers their preferred experience, even if the prices are higher.

Three stages in car buying journey

Also, buyers don’t want any kind of hassle or wait for hours at the dealership to complete the paperwork. In fact, over 70% of the buyers like to complete credit applications & financing paperwork online.

Use this as a guide to develop strategies for every car buying stage. These insights from top industry surveys will help you connect with your target audience at every touchpoint of their buying journey.

At the end of this stage, the buyer eventually makes the purchase and takes the delivery of the vehicle.

A few things to consider in the buyer’s decision phase:

  • Make the buying process hassle-free
  • Move your paperwork entirely online
  • Deliver timely

Given the short time that the buyer is willing to spend at the dealership, being efficient with the processes may endear the dealer to the potential customer.” – Deloitte


From helping customers find the relevant information to assist them to explore vehicles online using high-quality car images until final delivery, ensure you provide authentic details at every stage and elevate the customer experience. This way, you don’t just deliver vehicles but also the satisfaction that customers anticipate from the brand.

Impact Graph – What aspects do the consumers consider for research?

Spyne is a deep tech company that helps car dealerships with instant visual cataloging using AI-powered photography and editing technology. We enable car dealerships and marketplaces to create images and 360-degree videos instantly using our technology solutions. Click here for more information.

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