Car showrooms are allowed to open April 12th (well, 5th April in Scotland) as part of the UK roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions and the automotive industry is set to soar!
Whilst we look forward to a surge in business through in-person visits, it is critical that dealerships don’t neglect those customers whose buying habits differ. Ask yourself a question…. Are you as prepared to sell to those customers who now want to buy a car from their home as you are to those who still want the in-person touch?
Buying and Reserving Cars Online
Should every dealer website have the e-commerce feature available for customers to complete the end-to-end purchase, or is having the reserve online feature enough? To this question there is not a straightforward yes or no answer. To some car dealerships, reserving online will be more than enough and to others, it is simply not enough.
It all depends on what your business goals are. If the objective of your dealership is growth, to keep up with the market changes and competitors, then you need to provide the option to reserve AND buy cars on your website. If your business isn’t planning to grow, then you could get away with offering walk in customers only, but it’s important to understand the implication of this, now that customer buying trends are changing.
Introducing the customer spectrum
One way to look at it is, do you want to cater to the whole market or just a proportion? not having the complete end to end purchasing option available could deter a section of the market… A great way to view car buyer intent is on a spectrum;
Customer A: Will complete the whole car buying journey start to finish in person, at the car dealership.
Customer B: Does not want to step into the dealership at all, will complete the entire process online, from the convenience of their own home.
Obviously, these are two extreme differences and most people out there will land in the middle.
Customer C: Sit somewhere in between, may take part of the journey online and some in person. As the saying goes, “you get the best of both worlds”.
But slowly and surely, we are seeing the percentage shift from traditional to digital, and there are many reasons as to why…
What affects car buying habits in Automotive?
Let’s look at the changing customer demographics – the newest generation of car buyers, those born 2004 + (scary I know), have grown up with technology and the ability to have access to anything they please with the click of a mouse or with the touch of a screen. So, having the ability to buy a car online will almost be expected, as it’s all they have ever known.
Big Market Players
A huge reason for the rise of online car buying is due to key players in the market, companies like Cazoo and Cinch who use heavy advertisement and re-enforce the ease and accessibility of buying a car online. The wide recognition and clarity companies like these are providing to customers is brilliant.
Covid has a lot to answer for but one thing we are not mad about is the fact that the pandemic has encouraged the usage of e-commerce in automotive. It has, to an extent, forced the automotive industry to develop digitally, lighting the initial spark that started a beautiful e-commerce fire. Eventhough the pandemic is now coming to an end, there will still be customers who may be wary of venturing out of the house initially they will still be utilising the online way of buying for some time. But enough about Covid…
Get more leads from your website
Digital should complement the physical showroom, working symbiotically; it should be a means of making your job easier not harder. Taking advantage of all the solutions available provide leads you would never receive otherwise. It’s simple; the more digital tools you give your audience, the more chance you have to acquire leads.
In summary, it is beneficial for business growth to accommodate all types of customer, whether they want to do part of the process online and part in store, all online or all in store – let the customer take control of their car buying journey.
If you have any reservations, maybe concerning distance selling regulations or just the fact that digital technology can be daunting, there’s help and support available. Speak to your web provider or get in touch with Autoweb Design, we are happy to answer any questions.
Our website packages come with the option to activate e-commerce as standard along with effective call to actions throughout, that are designed to convert. We can add our reserve or buy online tool on your current website seamlessly. Think it’s time to give your website an upgrade? Contact us on 01757211700 or email@example.com.