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Online aftersales investment and innovation needed from dealers

Aftersales online services are not keeping pace with today’s consumer, according to Alex Rose, marketing director at, the online portal which invites consumers to post their requirements and for dealers to bid on the work.

Rose, who will take to the stage at the AM and Auto Trader Digital Marketing Conference on 12th February 2015 at Birmingham’s NEC, will explore the digital aftersales landscape and benchmark it against other industries from hotels to insurance.

“The issue is that dealers, independents, fast-fits and manufacturers have not created an online aftersales presence that reflects consumers’ online experience in other retail sectors,” explained Rose. “Some are better than others but there is no one out there offering anything online which is familiar to consumers from sectors such as airlines, holidays or insurance. For example, very few companies display their physical stores’ consumer reviews on their website – a mainstay of almost any other online booking experience.”

As the franchised sector continues to face the onslaught of the independents and fast-fits, retaining customers will continue to be a major challenge and much of that battle will be won or lost online. However, the general ‘digital lag’ within aftersales does provide franchised dealers who are prepared to ‘think outside the box’, the opportunity to create an online experience which is more in keeping with the more sophisticated online facilities provided by other retailers.

According to the Castrol Professional Car Servicing and Repair Trend report, the aftersales market has grown by 10% following the sector’s emergence from the downturn years, but much of the business has found its way to the independent network which now accounts for 50% of the market.

Google has reported almost 11% more searches for service, maintenance and parts than there are for used cars. The crux of the problem could well be that dealers are simply not investing in their aftersales online presence and digital marketing strategy. Typically, 10% of a dealer’s marketing budget is dedicated to aftersales, reports Google and with 83% of consumers using a smartphone to locate their nearest service centre and 63% using a tablet to find aftersales prices online , it is not surprising franchised dealers are missing out since their online aftersales investment does not match consumer search patterns.

“There is a massive opportunity here for dealers to steal a march in the aftersales sector,” said Rose. “They need to apply some of the same innovative thinking and digital investment as they do for new and used cars.”

The conference will see a number of automotive retail and digital experts take to the stage and will also host workshop sessions which will enable dealers to delve deeper into specific digital topics with input from industry specialists.

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133, email or visit

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  • Busterrabbit - 26/11/2014 12:36

    "83% of people use a smartphone to find their nearest service centre" Really? I doubt it very much, far more likely that 83% will either use their franchise dealer, a service centre they drive past or is recommended by a friend.