As we know, more and more consumers use the net to begin their buying process and none more so than car buyers. More than 50% of buyers now start the search for a new or used car by first looking online. Typically they tend to search for information about certain models which fit their criteria and budget, find out what the reviewers say and move on from there.
As we all accept now, in the trade ensuring that our used car stock is priced competitively and marketed professionally is the best (only?) way to attract customers and no amount of investment in showroom facilities will attract buyers if the product is not the best it can be.
Many dealers are now looking ever harder at the presentation and preparation of their cars and ‘detailing’ them in order that they look absolutely stunning and give customers no excuse for not buying because of any quality issues. When times are good its attention to detail like this that can slip but when the business is tougher there really is no excuse.
We have also seen examples of car dealerships really looking into the issues surrounding the quality of the service offered and are setting up specialist “handover teams” to deliver that experience. This, of course, will be music to the ears of sales execs but when you think about it makes perfect sense. The more time that sales people can spend actually talking to customers and giving test drives and presentations the more opportunities they will have of selling cars more profitably. It’s a win-win situation if, at the same time, it makes the handover process a special experience for buyers. Even better if it means they tell all their family and friends about how well they were looked after.
This of course can only start to happen if dealers can create the footfall they need in the first place. This is why getting their online showrooms in order and maximising opportunities to convert lookers into visitors will become so much more vital in the coming years.
We often harp on at MTI about the need for dealers to interact with their customers via social media and their seeming reluctance to do this is simply because there appears to be no tangible measurement that will let them know how successful and cost-effective this approach is. However what they can do is commit resources to ensuring that, if 50% (and rising) of all car buyers start the process online, that their website and overall web presence gives them every chance to increase footfall. If they then make sure that the product and the staff all step up to the plate they can ensure that leakage is kept to a minimum.