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Car dealers told “improve transparency to boost profitability”

Nick King

Car dealers should be more transparent in order to gain the confidence of consumers increasingly confident in the ‘internet of things’ connecting everything to the virtual space, from watches to household goods.

Auto Trader’s  insight director Nick King (pictured) will explain why at this year’s AM Digital Dealer Conference on September 15 at Silverstone.

There are now 23 million connected cars whilst consumers rely on their smartphones to keep them connected.

Such access to information means dealers will need to ensure all their processes such as valuations are transparent and open to scrutiny.

King said: “There is a disconnect between the way dealers believe their relationship with customers is viewed and how customers perceive dealers.

“However, dealers can change customer perception and win them over.

“For example, dealers think they have made booking a test drive extremely easy yet our research tells us customers view the process with trepidation.

“Dealers who deliver and market their test drives differently and much more openly can convey the message that it is actually straightforward and simple.”

Meanwhile, the research also shows that dealers attitudes to ‘millennials’, those aged around 17-34, can be counterproductive.

“Millennials tend not to be taken seriously by dealers, yet often the younger ones are living at home and working so have more disposable income whilst those in their mid-20s to mid-30s could well be professional people with good salaries.”

Auto Trader’s research and data suggests car buyers are becoming even more impatient and are less likely than ever to make an appointment before visiting a dealership making both the dealer’s website and their customer service when they do appear on the forecourt crucial elements of the purchase decision making process.

Auto Trader in the US is finding 89% of car buyers now no longer make appointments and simply turn up expecting to be able to test drive and transact.

Whilst the UK lags behind at 58%, that figure continues to grow and for millennials it’s even higher at 67%.

“The sales process is not keeping pace with how times are moving.

“For example, the test drive process is likely to be a predetermined route which does not take into account individual requirements such as whether you’re more likely to be a motorway driver or being able to negotiate tight, town centre car parks is more important to you,” said King.

“Our research is telling us that if dealers look at everything they do and improve each a small amount and provide consumers with a timely, respectful and bespoke experience when they interact with the business, sales and ultimately profits will increase.”

This year’s AM Digital Dealer conference focuses on the key components of a consumer’s interaction with a business:

the online content which drives them to make contact

the analytics and data which provides intelligent insight

and the experience itself, both online and when they visit the dealership.

A series of masterclasses will take place before and after lunch which enables dealers to tackle some of the major digital challenges in greater depth.


Tickets are only available to dealers and vehicle manufacturers. To book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133, email or visit


Suppliers wishing to exhibit please email or call 01733 366467.


Silverstone Wing, Silverstone Circuit NN12 8TN

Location map

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