The pop culture stereotype of a fast talking sales person is probably one of the many reasons why consumers have now diverted their attention online. In the past, when thinking of purchasing a new car, we have found ourselves arriving at a car dealership only to be faced with the infamous pushy car salesman who is heavily reliant on sales commission as the familiar mind games begin.

Today, before making any big decisions in our lives, we turn our attentions online to research thoroughly and review everything from a washing machine, family holiday or neighborhood when purchasing a new home, and the same is true when making the expensive purchase of a new car.

The days of simply walking up to the doors of a showroom and being hit by the smell of cheap cologne are disappearing, but for many of us, not quite fast enough. Our online research has already enabled us as consumers to form our own opinions to make a well-informed decision that often renders any sales spiel useless.  The best sales people see opportunity in the shift and are  focused on a consultative sales approach that adds value wherever possible.

Google recently released an interesting report that eloquently described how the digital landscape is changing how we would traditionally research and purchase a new vehicle. Video and mobile are the predictable suspects that seem to be leading this wind of change that is proving how technology can be an enabler to almost every aspect of our lives.

The report suggests that 60% of consumers are usually unsure of exactly which car will fit their unique requirements. Their customer journey will begin by consulting a trusted friend who is crazy about cars, followed by reading blogs, forums and checking out the myriad of review sites at their disposal.

However, the real change in consumer behavior is the increasing influence of video on our decision-making process over traditional forms of media. The startling fact is that a massive 69% of those researching through YouTube were influenced by it more than TV, newspapers or magazines.

Walkthroughs, vehicle test drives, along with highlights of features that have all doubled in the past year alone which further illustrates this paradigm shift towards our digital world where it’s mobile devices that could hand over the keys to our next vehicle of choice. Whether it be make and model or even how to run the car of our dreams, many decisions will be made online long before entering a car showroom.

Even when all the research has been completed, 84% of consumers use mobile devices to search for the location and opening hours of where they finally intend to make their purchase. This information not only illustrates how society is evolving but the increasing importance of an online presence over a physical one.

Those reading this who prefer the personal touch of speaking to a real person will begin their journey with a simple phone call, but how will they find the showroom phone number? Search interest in dealer phone numbers is also up over 78% in the past year according to the report that further hammers home the point.

If your businesses informative and insightful information is nowhere to be found online, does not read well on a mobile device, and not deemed helpful, then even the biggest most successful of companies are essentially invisible to their customers and their mobile searches.

The closing of sales are often pre-determined by an online experience well before consumers have even set foot in any store or dealership. Savvy shoppers now perform a wealth of research online from an authentic voice that they can trust and only those providing genuinely helpful content will make their consideration list.

In this age of instant gratification where we expect answers to any questions that enter our heads within a few seconds, anyone who has suffered with a slow computer or internet connection would freely admit how perpetually impatient we have all become. This is exacerbated by the onslaught of digital assistants such as Cortana, Alexa, Siri or Google Now that are all vying for your attention and each promise to deliver answers quicker than the others.

We no longer require the gift of hindsight to realize our world is evolving into something quite different from our past. Maybe, we shouldn’t be too surprised that 69% of people who used YouTube while buying a car were influenced by it more than TV, newspapers or magazines; in fact, it’s inevitable isn’t it?