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Is it time for your dealership to go digital

Is it time for your dealership to go digital?

Author: Natalie Banks - Digital Marketing Specialist

It’s no doubt that 2020 played a big part in the revolution of the Automotive industry’s move to digital.

Dealerships large and small were forced to evaluate their digital presence, how their website performed for them and how they could continue to maximise sales during a time where face-to-face contact, particularly sales, was almost non-existent.

Back in March 2020, dealerships and OEMs were rattled by the unwelcome force that was the Coronavirus, which entered the UK with unprecedented strength. With most businesses just starting to implement new digital strategies, the second quarter of 2020 had other ideas. With a bang, all dealerships were forced to close their bricks and mortar business, with no clear view of when things would return to normal on the horizon.

This also meant a complete change of direction for Autoweb Design, who’s primary focus was to help our customers come out of the other side of the pandemic, unscathed.

We developed our very own Reserve and Buy Online solution which dealers could choose to implement on their own websites, completely free of charge. The e-commerce features will also be an integral and standard part of the new platform being developed here at Autoweb Design.

Our e-commerce solution proved very popular and offered dealers the chance to continue trading, even when dealerships remained closed.

"One of our clients went live with the e-commerce solution in June last year and to date has taken almost £80,000 from a combination of deposits and full end-to-end purchases."

During the most recent lockdown that occurred in Jan 2021, another one of our clients has taken 22 reservation deposits, which shows that people are still keen to continue their car buying journey.

The plugin can simply be integrated onto our dealer sites, allowing car buyers to reserve a vehicle or complete the full end-to-end purchase online, reducing the amount of face-to-face contact between the dealer and the customer.

The reservation tool allows customers to put down an affordable and fully refundable deposit on a car, meaning they are safe in the knowledge that when they come to take a test drive, the car is still available. For our dealers, this is also a very effective way of generating leads, even when the dealership remains closed for walk-ins.

The end-to-end purchase allows customers to build their own deal online and complete the purchase of their new car, without having to visit the dealership.

Going digital should be no shock to car buyers, as it is thought as much as 90% of research is done online before the customer even enter a dealership. It may even be considered a chore for car buyers to visit dealerships, particularly if they are unsure what car they want or need.

Buying habits appear to have shifted, with safety now becoming a real worry and people not wanting to leave the house for unnecessary reasons. Whilst the Coronavirus has been around for almost a year, the fear is still very fresh for a lot of people.

In the study that we are exploring, there is analysis over both the digital leaders, who have full end-to-end digital solutions in place and dealers who have yet to adopt any digital changes.

In this instance, digital leaders who have the full end-to-end car buying solution integrated on their website were more likely to appeal to a wider range of car buyers, from those who were not yet ready to adopt the digital changes, to those who were comfortable with the full end-to-end purchase of a car online.

The study found that the notion of switching to a full e-commerce solution may become second nature to most online businesses, but car buyers still expect a level of face-to-face interaction when purchasing high ticket items. E-commerce solutions can reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction without eliminating it completely.

The car buying process also involves a lot of paperwork, especially if the car is financed, therefore it is down to our dealers to establish whether they choose to adopt just the reserve feature or opt for the full end-to-end solution.

Dealerships across the board have already adopted digital technology in a number of different ways over the past year, from introducing video sales calls to implementing click and collect options to reduce the amount of face-to-face contact.

If you are an Autoweb Design customer and are yet to implement this feature on your website, give us a call and we can get this integrated for you. If you are not an Autoweb Design customer and are happy with your website provider, you can still benefit from our new reserve and buy online solution.

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