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Breaking the traditional used car dealer sales model

A dealer’s website is a needle in a haystack and a quarter of car consumers will visit more than 10 websites, said Nick King, Auto Trader's marketing research director. Dealers’ websites need to stand out and to be visible, optimised and simple.

He said Auto Trader’s research showed that online users are more impatient than ever, and consumers on mobile devices want results within three seconds. If the dealer’s digital experience is awkward or ignores them, they will move on.

     See more images from the AM Used Car Market Conference 2014

Forecourt visits are down 41% year-on-year, according to King’s research. Of those visits, 50% of consumers simply turned up without having contacted the dealer because they had found all the information they wanted online.

The smartphone is now the consumer’s internet access point. They are using it to look for range and availability of stock, the dealership’s opening hours, address and contact details. And if they turn up to the dealership they will expect to see that car they chose online, so dealers must not advertise cars that are not available.

“The opportunity to influence is yours all the way through, so use the tools you have,” King said.

     Read more from the AM Used Car Market Conference 2014

Only 42% of consumers consider visiting more than one dealership.  The average new car consumer makes 1.6 dealership visits, and 2.3 visits to buy a used car. Almost 40% consider just one make.

King also talked about the importance of adjusting stock prices to remain within 5% of the market price for that car, in order to get an optimum level of interest and turn stock more quickly for profit. Of the used cars advertised on Auto Trader, 31% had not been re-priced in 60 days.


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