Dealers Need A Digital Rewiring To Keep Pace With Industry Trends
- September 30, 2019
- Posted by: John Swift
- Category: Automotive Industry
Dealers need to carry out a `digital rewiring’ of their business to keep pace with the shift in customer buying trends and the most successful ones will adopt an omnichannel approach.
This means they will provide the option of buying entirely online as well as from a physical visit or anywhere in between as they give an end-to-end service to maximise their market presence and the chance of a sale.
A new report by Auto Trader spoke of dealers needing to look again at their internet presence and what their websites offer browsers so that the current imbalance between the business’s investment and operations dovetails with how and where drivers look for their next vehicle.
In its report `The Future of Car Retailing’, it said a study of 2,000 consumers revealed that nearly half (45%) would already be happy to complete the whole purchase online if buying on finance. This increases to nearly two-thirds for the younger generation of buyers (18 to 34-year olds).
On the other hand, while the average number of retailers visited has reduced from five to just two, the dealer and the human interaction between them and a potential customer retailer remain key. It says three in four consumers wouldn’t buy a car without speaking to a retailer.
Retailers will need to provide a blended experience for consumers
Nathan Coe, Auto Trader’s CEO-Designate, said:
“Dealerships will remain central to the world of automotive retailing, but they will have to evolve as the one size fits all approach is fast becoming redundant. Retailers will need to adapt to provide a blended experience for consumers so they can choose the right journey for them, be it online or offline, or any combination of the two.
“The future is about digitizing the ecosystem to enable retailers to move to a less labour and property intensive model that better serves car buyers. Successful retailers will embrace technology, invest equally in their online platform as they do their physical one, and re-evaluate the physical elements of their cost base to run more efficiently.”
Coe said the advice applies to independents operating in the used car sector just as much as franchises, adding:
“There is a huge opportunity for independents to utilise their agility and size to adapt to local market conditions, making use of their flexibility when it comes to product choice and operating approach. Their size also allows independent retailers to explore different avenues at a faster pace.”
The report identifies that the introduction of online payments and the shift to an omnichannel retail model is part of a broader need to make the entire car buying experience more efficient and this needs more digital investment.
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