A simple statement of fact; quality of service and marketing will only improve if car dealers are to remain solvent in theses trying times. We here at Motor Trade Insider agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment and would probably take it a stage further. For instance when we look at the internet as a marketing tool, car dealer websites have improved immeasurably in the last few years both in the ease of navigation, the aesthetics but also in the quality and depth of information provided.
As the world becomes busier, or conversely perhaps lazier in some cases, consumers crave instant information to ensure the time spent actually collecting or physically testing a car is kept to the bare minimum. Of course there will always be the kind of people who turn the car buying process into an art form and apply Prince 2 methodology to the project but in the main car buyers would rather have as little face to face contact with a car seller as possible.
If you work on the premise that there really are no bad cars being built anymore, only degrees of average or good, then from a confidence point of view and especially in a recession let’s be honest, customers can freely take an enquiry about any car as far as they wish via the web.
It is also no coincidence that statistics now tell us that buyers are far more likely to buy a car they have first searched for on line and more relevantly dealers are starting to realise that unless the quality of the images matches a comprehensive description they are far less likely to gain a potential customer who clicks through to the car.
Multi-image and showreel depiction’s will be the rule rather than the exception and as car dealers react to the impending lack of late plate used cars on the ground they will be encouraged to look elsewhere for stocking their forecourts and that will inevitably be with older cars with higher mileages.
These cars will obviously be outside their usual remit, meaning the accuracy of the descriptions and quality of the images will become more vital than ever if buyers are to be enticed to pay the uplift which they will surely have to at a franchised main dealer.
Presenting multi images and meticulous description of any imperfections will hopefully mean the buyer will gain confidence when they actually physically see a car and the description matches the advert perfectly.
It is no accident that during the last year or two we have seen more companies set up to directly buy cars from the public. They offer a simple hassle free quote on any car of any age mileage or condition which is fair enough but by the same token they need to make a margin on these cars and will usually sell them to other dealers who will also want a margin (you can see where we’re going with this). This obviously indicates that the price offered to the original customer will be low enough for everyone else to have their piece of the pie.
These companies of course have come to the fore because of the perception – and in lots of cases the reality – that trying to get a fair price from a dealer is like getting blood out of a stone. Whether that’s through lack of communication or in some cases the fact that the dealer only wants to sell his car and is not too keen on taking in a car which he has no expertise in disposing of. Whatever the reason there has been a vacuum caused by an often lethargic approach by many car dealers.
We have often come across stories where a buyer has completed a deal to buy a new car and has been under the impression that the dealer doesn’t take in part exchanges of a different flavour. Often a customer will call in to try and gain an idea about what his car may be worth before he considers whether to change it and is usually subjected to a full scale interrogation before that little nugget of information can be passed on.
So what is the answer? Well if we concede that the internet is the place to sell a used car and at any given time there are over 300,000 cars advertised on Autotrader.co.uk and it receives over 350,000 unique visitors to its advertised cars every day then surely it can’t be too difficult to sell a car via the internet that might normally part exchange? In other words if you know what you want when buying a car and what appeals to you in terms of the information and images presented why not employ the same tactics? Have the car professionally valeted so that it looks gleaming, ensure all the relevant information goes towards describing it and then perhaps most importantly take several pictures which project the car in the best light and potentially sell it for far more than you would get from webuyanyoldmotor or by trading it in.
Of course that is not to say that this will not present its own problems. If you sell your car and haven’t yet found a replacement then you could find yourself carless and the thought of people ringing you up and traipsing round your house at all times of the day could be just a bit too stressful but the important thing is to consider the internet along with these other options before deciding what to do with your existing car. And this of course brings us full circle, if you don’t want the hassle, offload your car as quickly and in the easiest way possible but by the same token expect to pay a high price for the privilege.
As the power of the web grows ever greater and the competition for customers hots up even further it will be the people with the best marketing, descriptions and images that will be the most successful sellers.