By Hugh Dickerson
The retail aftersales market has grown 10% post-recession, according to the latest edition of the Castrol Professional Car Servicing and Repair Trend report. However, much of this growth went to the independent garages, which now account for 50% of the market. So why are franchised dealers still not getting what they may see as a fair share?
Recent Google data shows there is a huge opportunity in the digital aftersales market, with almost 11% more searches for service, maintenance and parts queries than there are for used cars. However, dealers appear not to want to capture much of this market, typically investing less than 10% of their digital marketing budget in aftersales.
Today’s aftersales consumer is no different from the new or used sales customer in their reliance on digital media. 71% of aftersales consumers will use a search engine for research, and on multiple devices and platforms.
Hugh Dickerson is Google UK senior industry head of automotive and an AM Awards judge. He is responsible for developing digital brands in the UK.
♦ 83% of consumers use a smartphone to find the location of the nearest service centre.
♦ 63% of consumers will use a tablet device to research aftersales prices.
♦ 71% of consumers will use online video to find out about a mechanic or workshop.
It is clear the automotive aftersales shopper is no different to the shopper using multi-channel retailers such as John Lewis. Unfortunately, the multi-channel experience via a dealer for aftersales is generally not on a par with the new or used car sales experience, let alone such other multichannel retailers.
The result is dealer groups are relinquishing control of the acquisition journey to digital startups who are often solely focused on the aftersales sector. The risk for franchised dealers is that these aftersales aggregators could become as powerful as the used car aggregators on which they are now so dependent.
So what can dealers do to wrest back control of their aftersales businesses?