Fiat Chrysler strengthens its online sales platform “E-Shop”

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Used vehicles, online chats and test appointments will soon be available on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s renowned “E-Shop” online sales platform.

This spring, dealerships were forced to quickly transition to an online-only shopping and marketing experience as pandemic-induced closures in many states were put in place. Now, automakers have found, even after retailer doors reopened, that they can leverage their e-commerce platforms to support sales as more people have shifted to buying more online. About 45% of Fiat Chrysler’s monthly sales now come online, up from 25% last year, according to the company.

“Six months ago, we brought forward the nationwide launch of E-Shop to help our resellers who were trying to weather the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeff Kommor, FCA’s U.S. sales manager, in a statement. “Consumers say E-Shop gives them more transparency, while resellers say the whole process, including door-to-door delivery, allows them to create a strong bond with the buyer.”

This is a trend that the traditional auto industry has resisted in favor of bringing buyers to dealership showrooms. Meanwhile, newcomers like electric car maker Tesla Inc. and online used car retailer Carvana Co. have embraced the e-commerce trend and, with generous return policies, have tried to put the buyers feel comfortable making their purchase sometimes before they see it – although Tesla could give up its seven-day return policy, according to reports.

The online store allows customers to complete the entire vehicle purchasing process online, including pricing information, obtaining trade-in value for their current vehicle, identifying options loan, completion of final documents and, in most cases, planning for home delivery. Online shopping traffic through the reseller network has increased by over 65% since its launch.

Now customers can get their questions answered in real time through an online chat function. By next month, they will be able to make a refundable reservation for a new vehicle using PayPal.

E-Shop will also offer dealers the opportunity to list their used vehicle stocks by December. Until then, buyers will be able to make an appointment to test a vehicle before entering a showroom.

Customers can access the E-Shop experience through the website of each of FCA’s brands, participating dealer sites and through social media.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble


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