End-To-End Digital Journey Fast Becoming The Norm
- October 3, 2019
- Posted by: John Swift
- Category: Automotive Industry
So many retailers have geared their dealerships to take buyers on a fully digital sales journey which they mirror when buying that a fully online and end-to-end business model is fast becoming the norm.
Buying and retailing online has transformed the used car industry in recent years to the extent that many dealers can have a 24/7 virtual showroom and source their stock without – in theory – needing to leave the premises.
Increasingly sophisticated customer-facing platforms will now walk potential buyers through the entire process to the extent that the only time a physical meeting is needed is at the handover. At the same time, it is becoming ever easier and more automated for retailers to source stock, reply to an online enquiry, display and provide the relevant vehicle information and conclude a deal.
One remarketer, 1link Disposal, a partner supplier to the Independent Motor Dealers Association, said the growth of a fully online business model has been so fast and widespread that it could have reached a tipping point this year.
Vicky Gardner, head of remarketing, said:
“We know that use of digital continues to grow. However, what is interesting about the last few months is that there appears to be more interest in not just acquiring stock online but also digitally retailing as much stock as possible. Fully, end-to-end digital processes are becoming much more common.
“This is being driven by a number of convergent trends that mean we could be reaching a tipping point. Digital stock acquisition and digital retailing systems have now reached a high level of maturity. The chances of encountering significant problems in buying used cars and vans and then selling them – all online – are now low.
“Additionally, margins remain under pressure for retailers and end-to-end digital processes are cheaper to operate than traditional routes. This makes them very attractive at the moment.”
However, customers and dealers are not quite ready to embrace digital 100% and a physical presence will still be needed to cater for walk-in customers and those who want the reassurance they are buying from a reliable business.
“While more and more used car buyers are comfortable with buying online, it remains important for most retailers to maintain a high level of physical presence. Most car buyers in 2019 want to undertake a mixed digital and physical journey, and retailers must maintain the ability to meet that need.”
Her comments echo those made last week by Auto Trader which said that dealers need a blended approach with a strong online presence while still retaining a showroom but highlighted a shift in consumer buying habits, especially among the under-35s, who are confident spending online.