Dealers need to tackle the “online gap” between a customer looking at a new or used car online and making direct contact with a dealership to progress the sale, believes motor dealer technology company iVendi.
The company believes dealer websites should effectively allow customers to almost pre-qualify themselves to help themselves further down the buying process before contacting the dealership.
Director James Tew said: “There is huge gap in the car buying experience between the customer browsing through stock online and then clicking through or phoning to make actual contact. It’s the difference between the virtual and the physical.
“We believe that large numbers of potential sales fall into this gap. It is the weakest point in the whole car sales process. What needs to happen is that a bridge should be built that takes the customer closer to contacting or visiting the dealership.”
Tew explained that he believed the key was remove as many potential barriers to the sale being made as possible before the customer got in touch with the dealer.
He said: “Our research, backed up with field experience, shows that there needs to be a more gradual process introduced to the customer. The gap between looking at a car or van online and picking up the phone is quite a big one. Instead, the customer should be taken through key elements of the buying process online.
“These should include, crucially, rapidly prequalifying the customer for finance of whatever sort they would prefer but it could also involve examining options for warranties, service plans and even potential delivery vehicle dates.
“This has several advantages. It lets the customer see whether the deal is the right one for them and also enables the dealer to see how serious a customer is about buying a car or van. Crucially, it reduces the online gap. By the time that the customer is dealing with a human being, the deal is already effectively made.”
iVendi was known as Webzation and will be officially relaunching under its new brand on October 22.