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Simple transactions are key to lockdown sales success, says Startline

Dealers can improve their used car sales performance during lockdown by offering buyers a simple online transaction process.

Startline Motor Finance believes the used car sector can be “reasonably confident” about its prospects for the next few months if it meets buyer needs.

Paul Burgess, Startline’s CEO, said: “The key lesson from the pandemic so far is that if people are able to continue to buy used cars, they will do so – and in relatively strong and sometimes even exceptional numbers.

“As soon as dealers and introducers were able to resume sales after the first lockdown, consumers immediately starting buying and the second lockdown, in November, had a relatively small impact on levels of business.

“However, the used car businesses who thrived through these moments were those who made it easy within the new trading models for customers to buy. In lockdown situations, sales success is all about removing obstacles to purchasing.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Startline says it has been putting substantial effort into making it as easy as possible for dealers and other introducers to process motor finance and claims this has produced a measurable impact on sales.

“Lockdown places dealers in a situation where all sales are digital, based on a click-and-collect or home delivery model, and this unavoidably changes customer expectations. The fact is that 2021’s consumers expect digital processes to be fast, slick and easy. This is true whether they are buying cars from a dealer or cornflakes from Tesco.

“Our experience is that the dealers and introducers who have recognised this fact and worked to satisfy the customer’s digital requirements are the ones who have really thrived over the last few months, and we have worked to support them by speeding up our own processes and decision making procedures.

“However, it is also about not just making things easier for the customer but the dealer, too, and we have also made changes to their processes to fit in with the new business models and make it easier for them to work with Startline. All of this has had a positive effect,” Burgess explained.

With a vaccine programme now in place, Burgess believes more people will want to buy cars to take advantage of the “approaching freedom”.

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