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Car dealers shift focus to retention activities

Person using laptop in car dealership

Car dealers' priorities have shifted away from new and used car sales to improved compliance and aftersales focus.

A continued lack of supply of new and used vehicles means OEMs and their franchised retailers have shifted their attention to focus on brand experience, meeting standards compliance, and aftersales, says Loop BI.

As more retailers move to agency agreements, brand experience, aftersales, and standards compliance becomes as important as sales volumes for OEMs and dealers alike, the company said.

Simon Porri, managing director at Loop BI, said: “Long wait times for most brands mean a focus on brand loyalty is now key for auto retailers; delivering exceptional brand experience retains customers and stops them going somewhere else to buy their next vehicle.

“In a bid to retain customers, dealers are focusing on enhancing the support they offer to customers, especially online – providing better information and sharing more information than ever before, with potential customers.

“The enhanced buying experience from the moment someone chooses to inquire about a vehicle builds confidence and supports future retention. Customer satisfaction is necessary to support dealers at this crucial time.”

Vehicle manufacturers including Lotus, which has compelted a shift to agency model car retail agreements with its retailers, have integrated their platforms into their network and have seen a 13% uplift in retailer standards compliance since they started monitoring it with Loop BI.

Other dealers implementing Loop BI’s software include Volkswagen Group UK, Aston Martin and Volvo – all of which have been able to use the data retrieved via the platform to help improve their dealers’ performance.

Using the data gathered provides visibility of performance and opportunities in other areas of the business such as aftersales, said Loop BI.

Porri added: “Data retrieved from Loop BI users highlight the significant changes car dealers have undergone, with a greater emphasis upon brand loyalty, customer experience, retention activities, and aftersales.

“As a result, we are seeing multiple clients roll out aftersales and compliance KPIs and dashboards to ensure brand loyalty remains strong.”

Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) plan to open its own car retail stores as it embarks on a process of “reimagining every aspect of our Jaguar business” has sparked uncertainty among its franchised car dealers.

October’s fuel cap price increase - if implemented - would result in a safety risk for motorists as one-in-five say they plan to cut back on car maintenance.

Car retailers must rethink their customer propositions to offer greater financial security to cash-strapped customers, according to RAC Dealer Network.

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