Equator has released a report giving insight into dealers’ digital experience, putting Sandcliffe and JCT600 above manufacturers.
The report focuses on how dealerships can evolve to avoid supply chain disruption from the production of EV, hybrid and autonomous vehicles, while analysing how they rank in their customer digital experience.
Equator’s chief creative officer James Jefferson said: “There are many changes afoot within the motor trade - the biggest opportunities for dealers lie in understanding shoppers’ needs in a lot more detail.
“The types of people looking for cars has changed, the type of cars they’re looking for and how they want to pay for them has moved on and, most importantly, the way they search and select is different.”
Only two businesses scored more than 24 out of 35 in Equator’s digital experience leaderboard.
Sandicliffe Motor Group based in the East Midlands and JCT600 came top of the list with 25 out of 35, while Pentagon Group, Perrys Group and Stoneacre Motor Group also performed well, ranking 24.
Industry leaders like Mercedes-Benz Retail Group, Renault Retail Group (both scoring 17) and Porsche Retail Group (scoring 13) ranked lower.
The top 64 UK dealers were rated out of five for seven key factors: ability to find the right car; ability to find out how much a car will cost; ease of connecting with the dealers; finding and locating specific dealer locations; vehicle upsell and cross-sell options; engaging content; and mobile friendliness.
Jefferson said: “I applaud dealerships that are already creating great experiences for customers. But things are changing fast and to survive, these businesses will have to evolve.
"By working hard to support the full customer lifecycle through connecting online to offline and pre-sales to post-sales experiences, dealers can create stronger and more profitable growth.
Brands generally performed best in helping customers connect with the dealer and having a mobile friendly website. However, clear improvement could be made.
With 71% of digital shoppers using mobile, the report showed that 91% of dealerships had mobile-friendly sites – this was due to scaling rather than optimisation and therefore “missed crucial opportunities”.
Jefferson said: “I believe that by listening to the needs of shoppers and continually innovating their approach, dealers can change perceptions and transform their future.
"I hope that this report inspires these businesses to continue focusing on delivering exceptional experiences and becoming more useful to more people, more of the time.”