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How technology will change the face of car dealerships

Technology can be a driver of change for car dealers, according to research which found 60% think advancements such as augmented reality will boost business.

The motor finance provider’s inaugural ‘Industry MOT’ survey, which polls more than 100 car dealers on issues affecting the automotive industry, revealed that 60% believed that advancements such as augmented reality will boost business at dealerships. However, almost 45% conceded that the increase in online customer reviews and comparison websites have had an adverse effect on footfall.

With click and collect services and driverless vehicles already being developed, car dealerships have suggested that showrooms will be forced to adopt new technology to enhance the consumer experience.

As well as the online order service, increased test-driving facilities and augmented reality were highlighted as potential options for dealers looking to enhance their offering.

Meanwhile, an increase in the amount of information available online means that car dealerships have seen consumers continue to expect more from their services and products.

John Simpson, managing director at Moneyway motor finance, a trading name of Secure Trust Bank, said: “Technology is set to continue to have a significant impact on the automotive sector, with self-driving vehicles and car-to-car communication already being trialled by a number of companies.

"This will inevitably alter the way that cars are sold in the UK, and we arranged this survey to get the opinion of the people directly affected by this.

“It is encouraging to see that dealerships remain confident and open to the idea of embracing new forms of technology. While they remain wary of potential changes, the future looks bright and demonstrates that car dealers can be optimistic for future growth.”

Mike Bell, managing director at Imperial Car Supermarkets, said: "At Imperial, we are more than aware of how technology is influencing the way that consumers purchase vehicles, and we are embracing the change.

“In future, dealers will need to adapt showroom technology to support the requirements of the consumer journey, which will become increasingly interactive. This applies to all stages of the process: from viewing the vehicle, to a live chat with a sales person, to finance applications and product marketing.

“If their desired vehicle is in stock, consumers can now transact with dealers irrespective of their distance from the dealership. As a result, technology is crucial to ensuring that a dealer’s virtual showroom is as well-managed as the bona fide showroom, or they will risk losing sales."

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