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Candid vehicle descriptions a 'key lesson' from digital disruptors, says iVendi

Rob Severs

Candid online used car and van descriptions that highlight scratches, dents and other minor damage are a key lesson from digital disruptors for dealers, says iVendi.

The company said the approach helps build trust between dealer and customer, as well as heading off any potential issues in the future.

Rob Severs, senior vice president (VP) products and insight, said: “It’s really about a shift in culture. Established dealers tend to emphasise the good points of a vehicle while minimising the not-so-good. That mindset probably dates back to when customers would first encounter the car on the forecourt, so would be able to see any issues for themselves.

“However, in 2022, almost all customers see the car or van for the first time online. This places a massive onus on the accuracy and depth of the online vehicle description in terms of them deciding about whether to take the purchasing process forward. It’s not just a question of providing very high-quality images but pointing out any issues and including as much written information as possible.

“For the digital disruptors, this is essential. They don’t want a customer to reject a vehicle on delivery because any issues were glossed over online. It’s a question of being as transparent as possible – and all dealers should aim to do the same.”

iVendi said it had been looking into the issue as part of enhancing their Stock Engine with a new stock upload tool that is soon being added free of charge to all users of its Connected Retailing Platform, a combined digital and showroom retail system used for sales and finance.

Severs said: “The stock upload enhancement means that dealers can use a single system to handle all of their showroom activity and inventory management, which we believe to be something of a first that has a high degree of appeal in this sector of the market.

“However, we also wanted to try and bring something new and have worked hard at helping dealers ensure the data they are including within the vehicle description is comprehensive. For example, when they enter the registration plate for a car or van, we can automatically generate information such as its original list price and options.

“The stock upload facility also prompts for vehicle faults to be clearly imaged and described. We are seeing a lot of evidence that it is an essential element of building trust.”

iVendi recently outlined a five point plan to help dealers maximise their online presence as the used car market begins to lose growth momentum.

In March, the digital finance business promoted five staff members to newly-created VP positions as part of its growth strategy, including Severs.

The digital automotive retail finance specialist has a target of doubling its revenue within the next three years.

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If the marketplace in 2023 is steadily returning to relative normality, this normality now includes the drive to find customers for an increasing supply of electric vehicles, and the need to source used cars from all channels and market them carefully. And of course there are the desires to delight consumers with an omnichannel experience and to hold on to decent margins after a couple of years of strong profitability.

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