Post Lockdown: Less Tyre Kicking, More Online Clicking
29th April 2020
As consumers are being encouraged to use online channels whilst business premises are temporarily closed to the public, and with many people currently forced to work remotely from home, confidence in online commerce has been growing across the country.
In recent weeks, technology has never been so important in keeping communication open, both in business and our private lives, to stay in touch – with the situation also pushing many into adapting to internet shopping and embracing the online world, who might not have otherwise.
Car dealers and garages that are dealing with the lockdown positively have already been taking advantage of ways to keep in touch with their customers, as well as looking to move more of the consumer buying process online.
Actions such as sending email and text message mailshots to existing customers to let them know if their workshop is still operating for keyworker emergencies, continuing to send weekly stock mailers to customers who had signed up for them, and having banners placed on their website informing prospects and customers of their current working arrangements, are simple ways that dealers have been letting their customers know they are still available.
But are you getting prepared for when the lockdown restrictions are lifted?
It follows that customer behaviour will start to shift as many people might still prefer to lead a more contactless life, having become used to social distancing the longer it goes on, while likely still worried about the virus.
Research carried out this month by Auto Trader showed that out of over a thousand respondents, 56% of UK driving licence holders who do not currently own a vehicle said that the pandemic has made them consider purchasing a car when it’s safe to do so.
They also found that of the consumers researching for their next car, 25% are currently looking to purchase a vehicle now or as soon as they are able to make a transaction, while 57% said that although they were still looking to buy, they will delay the actual purchase until later in the year.
With 48% saying they would be less likely to use public transport once the current restrictions are eased, ‘transport distancing’ is likely going to be a driver for car sales.
We are already seeing dealers taking deposits from non-key workers who have found their ideal car and don’t want to miss out on it, who are happy to wait for its handover or delivery once non-essential travel restrictions are lifted. Recent confirmation that car dealers can deliver cars, as long as they’re following the clear guidance from Public Health England, means that contactless deliveries are already taking place with the appropriate precautions and considerations.
Car dealer websites have become virtual showrooms, where potential customers can browse stock and find their perfect next car. Having 360 degree images that are interactive is a great tool to let buyers click the tyres, instead of kick them – particularly when you can highlight hotpots to draw the viewers’ attention to the main selling points or features of the vehicle. Live chat is already seen on many car dealer websites and is also a good method of instant online communication, which will no doubt become more common, along with the ability to reserve vehicles and buy online.
Personalised video tours of vehicles of interest sent directly to your prospects mobile phones is also something that car dealers can utilise, helping to keep your new customers engaged. This allows the sales team to record a full walk-around video with a running commentary to convey all the selling points and give a true representation of the condition of the vehicle.
Collection and delivery services for garages are likely to become more in demand, especially those that offer special sanitised cleaning before the vehicle handover. Vehicle Health Check apps are also set to become even more relied upon, as technicians can send videos to customers whilst their vehicle is in the workshop to explain the work needed, which is already an essential tool to help getting work authorised.
Contactless sales handover, either by a ‘click and collect’ arrangement or home delivery, and workshop collection and delivery services will likely be preferred – or even expected – by many post-lockdown consumers. Car dealers and garages should now be thinking about what they can offer for their customer’s peace of mind whilst also ensuring the health and safety of employees, with a focus on vehicle cleaning processes and minimising paperwork requirements to reduce the need for face-to-face contact.
Dragon2000 have been helping dealers and garages drive their businesses forward since 1995. Talk to our team today on 01327 222 333 or email email@example.com to find out how our dealer management system, car dealer websites and mobile apps can help your business increase profits and reduce costs.