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Car dealers must nurture digital customers during lockdown, says Heycar

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Car dealers that have a strong online presence can continue to make sales or maintain interest for when the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown is over, according to heycar.

Showrooms across the country have been ordered to close by the government as part of the coronavirus lockdown, but data from Heycar shows that there is still strong interest among car buyers and the online car marketing platform says the closure of physical outlets shouldn't mean that dealers are closed for business.

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“Everyone knows inbound leads are going to continue to drop as the government has implemented further measures to halt the spread of the virus and keep our community safe,” said Karen Hilton, chief commercial officer at heycar.

“However, this situation will change and when it does dealers must be ready to build again.

“That’s why it is particularly interesting to look at the numbers of people continuing to show interest in changing their cars. This suggests there are good pipelines of existing customers to nurture and develop in order to tide dealers over the next few months.

“Our site data shows that before the start of the initial government measures on social distancing, demand in the market was still showing normal seasonal increases.

“Top of the funnel site traffic and car views were at seasonal highs and these are still high now as people spend more time at home and online.”

Launched in August last year, with the help of financial backing from Volkswagen and Daimler, heycar claims that its leads have now generated over 200,000 car sales for its car dealer partners.

In February alone, the platform attracted 1.3 million site visitors and that number was expected to grow in March, ahead of the impact of the cornavirus outbreak.

The number of people using heycar’s onsite ‘value my car’ tool have remained strong since the introduction of social distancing, indicating that people are still planning for a car change - as long as it is safe to do so.

Hilton added: “Dealers who have warm leads can use this time to educate their customers on delivery options currently on offer.

“As the moves to stop non-essential contact escalate and the prospect of dealers being forced to close their showroom doors draw nearer, these online prospects become ever more valuable.”

Last month heycar completed the acquisition of HonestJohn.co.uk just weeks after the consumer advice website slipped into administration due to “significant cash flow difficulties”.

The online car buying marketplace said in a statement issued to AM that the Honest John brand will provide it with access to an audience of more than 25 million site visitors.



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