During this challenging time for UK dealerships, our focus remains on improving our partner services. Through the constant evaluation and enhancement of our products and the launch of new value-adding features like Remote Sales Solutions, we aim to constantly improve the return on investment for our dealers.
In line with this focus, we are now launching WhatsApp lead management as a free service for our UK partners. Dealerships can now communicate with car buyers via their favourite messaging app.
As with Managed Chat and Text, leads will be handled by our in-house staff. The lead is further qualified and then sent to your dealership, reducing any wasted time. The good news is that our initial test results have shown an increase in lead generation rates.
For car dealers, COVID-19 has brought on the challenge and stress of keeping business going while navigating a new normal. That kind of challenge can take a toll on a person’s mental health and wellbeing, which is why we’ve partnered with Ben, a charity dedicated to supporting the people of the automotive industry as well as their families. With Ben’s permission, we’re republishing some of their resources and tips on a variety of topics. We hope you find them useful during this unprecedented time.
In response to the UK government giving the green light for car dealerships to open on June 1st, we pooled some resources together to bring you the highlights of recent consumer research that will help inform your back to business plans. We also cover some of the ways CarGurus has innovated in response to these consumer sentiments and market changes. Watch now and if you have any questions please call 0808 501 5479.
The spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the UK economy. It’s driven people indoors and pushed businesses to furlough large amounts of their workforce, resulting in a recession. Additionally, the pandemic forced the closure of car dealerships for much of March and all of April, which brought the automotive sector to a near halt.
New vehicle registrations in April alone fell 97%. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), only 4,321 new cars were registered in April 2020. That’s the lowest monthly registration number since February 1946 when the UK was undergoing rationing and trying to rebuild after wartime destruction. But despite the steep decline in sales in recent months, it’s not all doom and gloom for dealers.
On the heels of Boris Johnson’s announced plans for reopening Britain, many auto dealers are thinking about what reopening will be like. Since the COVID-19 virus can survive on many types of surfaces, concerns about transmission has set new expectations for car cleanliness. As you get ready to get back to work, your customers expect a different kind of safety protocol for disinfecting cars—whether it’s for test drives or service appointments—and interacting with the public. So it’s important that you clearly communicate the steps you’re taking to keep them safe.
While the UK continues its lockdown, there’s plenty dealers can be doing to fine tune aspects of their business which will enable a faster recovery as business returns. Online reputation management is one such area of opportunity.
Reviews are an easy way to impress buyers who are undecided about where to purchase during the lockdown. Underlining their importance: a previous CarGurus study found that nearly 70% of car buyers check online reviews before contacting a dealer.* The study also revealed just how impactful a positive online reputation can be for attracting customers—a quarter of survey respondents said reputation is the most important factor when choosing a car.
It’s a growing trend, too, with third-party research identifying the 18-34 age bracket as most likely to be influenced by online reviews. According to the research, 91% of this age group place as much trust on online reviews as on word of mouth.**
Some examples of positive consumer reviews left during COVID-19:
Whether you’re already a CarGurus Top Rated Dealer (congrats!) or you’re striving to become one, below are our top tips for online reputation management:
We want to highlight the key initiatives our Consumer Marketing team are working on to drive consumer adoption of the vital Contactless Services dealers like you are providing right now.
We’ve added an onsite banner on cargurus.co.uk that promotes safer buying with CarGurus. Buyers will also see an expandable modal window on the homepage explaining the new filters and what they mean.
Today, our Director of Automotive Industry and Economic Analysis, George Augustaitis, takes a look at how consumer sentiment is trending among CarGurus shoppers.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, UK consumer confidence (as measured by the GfK UK Consumer Confidence Index) was trending upward. As of last week, it had dropped to -34, signaling that consumers are feeling significantly less optimistic about their financial security, their job security, their ability to find new employment if made redundant, and the economy overall.
The decline in consumer confidence is troubling but not surprising, as it is typical in a recession. However, the rapid decline in vacancies in the job market that we’ve seen due to COVID-19 has likely contributed further. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, the vacancies index fell to 47.8 in March, the first fall below the no-change 50 level since September 2009.
All of this means that consumers right now are less likely to make a large ticket purchase, as evidenced by the 52 pt. decline in the Major Purchase Index. When a consumer does not feel confident, they are less likely to make a large purchase like a vehicle, unless they need to. We see this in the decline in UK vehicle registrations, which fell 44% in March 2020 and 97.3% in April 2020, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT).