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Increasing the Value of Online to Car Sales – A Layperson’s Guide

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22nd March, 2017

Increasing the Value of Online to Car Sales – A Layperson’s Guide

  • 74% of consumers conduct their car buying research online
  • 71% of car buyers want to start their finance process online
  • Successful dealers are over twice as likely to embrace digital marketing than those who do not (41% v 20%)
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These are just some of the latest research findings from Google and Auto Trader. They point to the importance of not just using digital media, but of embracing it.

We thought we would share some practical pointers on how Used Car Dealers can increase the value of their online presence by giving car buyers the ability to complete more of their purchase journey online and doing this without spending a fortune.

Currently, options for car buyers wanting to buy online are largely limited to a small but growing number of manufacturers websites, or through an online broker. The focus is largely on new cars. That said, it seems many used car buyers would like to at least reserve their selected car online before making that final physical check of both car and dealer.

The reality of online consumer activity is already clear; forecourt traffic volumes have fallen, but the quality has risen. When a customer comes onto your forecourt they are in buying mode. Now, how can you get more of them? The answer is to make your online presence even more appealing to would-be customers.

One key development that we see as useful to used car dealers is ‘click & collect’. Adding a ‘Click and Collect’ reservation capability to your website could increase the number of leads and showroom traffic growth. After all, if potential buyers had the ability to reserve their perfect car through you it would mean capturing a sale that may have otherwise have been missed.

The Functionality Car Buyers Value

Two areas of functionality are vital in online retailing and they apply to the car sales as well as any other online selling;

  1. Ease of use

  2. Trust – arguably even more important for used car sales given the ££ values and used nature of the product

So, a few ‘top tips’ to build these attributes and gain an unfair competitive advantage!

  • Convenience – make it easy for customers to like you and your stock

  • Use fixed and transparent pricing

  • Demonstrate affordability – cost per month

  • Build trust with information on items like warranty cover and include reviews

  • Make it easy to buy – add the opportunity to reserve a car that suits them, subject to a final physical confirmation

Refine Your Current Approach – ‘Embrace’ Digital

Keen to step up to a higher level of digital and embrace some new tools?

At Codeweavers, we are currently finalising a solution, perfectly positioned for both franchise and used car dealers. This is in addition to our award-winning range of finance calculator tools. ‘Calcs’ should be on every dealer site, after all over 80% of customers need finance to buy that car from you!

The principle for the car buying tool is simple; the car buyer finds their ideal car online, they can reserve the car, paying a deposit if they like and then they receive a confirmation of their reservation. It all means a lot of the admin is done for you! It’s very much the ‘Click and Collect’ approach consumers like!

Add a smart edge to your digital presence

A little science can help you refine your site and make it more appealing and appropriate to your target audience.

Monitoring tools such as Google Analytics can help you to determine how effective your website is in engaging customers. It will help you to identify how far they delve into the information presented and what road blocks might be seeing them leave. If the roadblock ‘bounce rate’ is high, it suggests that you haven't captured your car buyer’s attention. As such, spend the time refining the content to make the customer’s journey easier and more appropriate.

Change one area at a time and test the impact. Affordability, pricing, reviews and the quality of information about the cars on offer and dealership are all good starting places. We never cease to be surprised at the way small things often make the greatest difference.

In summary, we hope this helps to de-mystify some of the emerging digital dealer world. We are happy to help and to keep things simple and practical to help your journey improve your customers’ journeys to you.

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