As the automotive industry accelerates its digital transformation, David Nield, Managing Director of V12 Vehicle Finance (V12VF), offers ways dealers can successfully reap the rewards of boosting their online footprint.
Car buyers are more digitally savvy than ever. Accelerated by the pandemic, the rapid digitalisation of the automotive industry has resulted in a complete shift in buyer expectations and behaviour.
The benefits of digital cannot be overstated. From increased productivity, the ability to create a more personalised customer experience and greater flexibility and convenience, it's no wonder that buyers have come to expect this sort of service.
Not to mention that dealers can benefit from reduced operating costs by embracing new technologies and, by effectively using social media, SEO and digital advertising, dealers can attract new demographics and potential customers.
Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, it is the ideal time for dealers to blend their showroom experience with digital platforms to optimise their success. At V12VF, we work with independent and franchised dealers across the country, and we've identified the best three ways for dealers to embrace and maximise the opportunities that digital brings:
In a post-pandemic landscape, customers won't always feel comfortable visiting showrooms or forecourts, which is why a digital presence is more important than ever. According to Auto Trader, in the height of the pandemic, 76% of customers were anxious about visiting a dealership in person, which is why implementing click-to-buy capabilities will prove vital in meeting customer demands and boosting revenue streams.
Dealers should also have communication platforms on either their websites or social media to allow buyers and potential customers to ask questions in real time. Taking the time to grow a social media presence could also be hugely beneficial to give dealers a brand personality and reach potential new customers in their area, and beyond.
Implement a digital calculator
Launching a finance calculator on websites will give customers the chance to be automatically matched with finance options to suit them. This will give buyers a greater understanding of their finance terms and monthly payments to make it clear from the beginning of the journey what they can afford.
For dealers, this functionality will also save time as it will reduce the need to resubmit finance applications to additional lenders. V12VF and our sister company Moneyway recently joined forces with Codeweavers to support our dealers with their own financial calculators, as well as offering expanded financial options that span Prime and Near Prime products.
Join forces with an integrated finance and technology partner
Collaboration is the backbone of any successful business and for smaller dealers with limited capacity or financial resources, partnerships are vital in maximising their success.
At V12VF, we provide our clients with an impartial view of what partnerships would be most beneficial to them and identify opportunities that could strengthen their service, and in return, their bottom line.
Ultimately, new technology helps to bridge the gap between social distancing and the physical experience, giving dealers two different demographics to tap into. The past 18 months have been hard on our industry and implementing new ways to boost revenue should be explored.
As we move forward, customers are more likely to expect dealerships to cater to their wants and needs, with the convenience and flexibility of digital playing a huge role in this.