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Car dealers must prepare for ‘year of the web’

By Tony Willard

Motor retail lenders are urging dealers to prepare for online searches to increasingly influence how customers select cars and loans in 2014. There is also a warning about brokers.

Kirk Franks,  Alphera Financial Services UK head of national sales   
Kirk Franks, Alphera Financial Services UK head of national sales  
   

Kirk Franks, Alphera Financial Services UK head of national sales, said: “This will be the year of the web in the car search and buying process. Dealer websites should be clear and concise, giving an informed choice of vehicles meeting customer requirements – aesthetically, on performance and from a finance perspective.”

Franks said Google statistics suggest only 17% of people know the make and model they want to buy when they start the search process: “This means dealers have a significant opportunity to help sway opinion.”

He expects lenders to have aggressive finance packages, allowing dealers to be more targeted in their offers, while tailor-making attractive propositions: “Flexible PCP deals are likely to achieve even greater penetration as consumers look for finance offers that meet their requirements.”

Franks said a transparent approach to web marketing and advertising should continue to drive sales and footfall into dealerships. “Consumers are incredibly well-informed when they enter a dealership,” he said.

“Training and staff knowledge is crucial, especially around different types of finance packages.”

Richard Hoggart, managing director of DSG Finance, said: “Dealers need to wrest back control of customers from online finance brokers. They capture customers’ finance intentions and then have an element of control over where they buy a car.

“Adding finance pre-approval to a dealer website removes the need for customers to seek finance elsewhere in advance of making contact with a dealer.”

 

 



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