Buying a car today is certainly not like it used to be. In fact a sales manager remarked to us recently that with all their chips heavily loaded on the internet, if their cars do not have multiple photographs and are not priced ultra-competitively it’s unlikely to even receive the most gentle of enquiry’s from an quasi interested punter.
This begs the question is the internet now the panacea for ALL car sales? If we look at the comparisons with selling houses for example estate agents will always make a point of mentioning they are on Right Move or Zoopla when taking on new clients so as to confirm that their coverage is total. They, like us car dealers, have become expert in telling stories about houses through words pictures and even film, such is the consumer thirst to know as much as possible before taking the enquiry further.
However like car sales it is generally the nearest dealer who the customer invariably goes to because it is more convenient and whereas the similarities stop with the fact that we sell our own cars and estate agents sell other people’s homes the sentiment is similar.
Most customers will end up buying local.
The difference in my opinion is that although cars, once they are used, are all unique they are in the main – especially where ex-daily rental cars are concerned – all fairly similar and therefore price and location are likely trigger points for customers. Whereas as houses once lived in are all completely different mainly because of location and therefore negotiating is a very individual experience with a house and not driven by a similar one in a different part of the county like cars viewed on the net can be.
We still like to buy our local paper for the property section where estate agents, despite internet coverage are still very active. I am sure – certainly looking at my own local example – it is a very lucrative income stream for marketing teams within the pages of the local papers. By comparison the motoring section has in some cases shrunk to a mere few pages and a few classifieds, nowhere near the force it once was.
Ironically despite the fact that dealers are spending far less on this type of marketing mainly because advertising stock online is far cheaper than print advertising (even with the constant price hikes by the mighty Autotrader) by putting most of their eggs in one basket they are perhaps missing a trick.
Despite all the furore around having a “web presence” by not getting down to grass roots and advertising more locally (as sales suggest)it might be considered in the years to come as “taking your eye off the ball).
A large proportion of buyers still and perhaps always will buy locally.