It’s absolutely no secret that retailers have turned their attention to the used car market over and above the new car market. After five years of growth and a record-breaking 2016, new car registrations turned on their heels and fell by 5.7% and 6.8% in the successive two years, which steered retailers toward what continues to be an exceptionally strong second-hand vehicle market.
The trouble is that used cars have been hot property for a long time; prices are extremely strong, the trade can’t get enough of them, and even in the wake of previously strong new car sales, competition is so fierce for quality second-hand stock that it’s proving ever trickier to procure. That’s great news for auction companies, less so for trade buyers and, in short, it’s the perfect storm of supply and demand.
We’re excited to announce the launch of CarGurus Paid Search, our new managed paid search solution. Through powerful machine learning, CarGurus Paid Search helps deliver ready-to-buy car shoppers to dealers’ own websites and drives more quality engagements by improving results from Google AdWords. It eliminates guesswork for dealers and delivers performance at scale.
It’s easy to forget just how much influence the Government wields over car buyers’ decisions, but it’s absolutely enormous. It may be subconscious to a customer, but the country’s authorities impact their choices at every level, be it financial, technological or geographical, and the more in-tune retailers are with customers’ needs and concerns, the better their chances of a sale. Here, we investigate how four government trends are impacting car buying in the UK.
Efficiency and profitability go hand-in-hand, which is why stock turn is critical to dealers. Many within the industry consider around 45 days an acceptable average turnover, but averages mean there are businesses that beat it and those that don’t. Time really is money, so the faster you sell cars, the more you make, and our five top tips will help you sell your vehicles that much sooner.
There is no underestimating the value of good-quality car photography. Customers can tell a lot about your dealership from your advertising images, and they’re often the first impression a customer gets of a car.
New models benefit from polished manufacturer stock shots, while used vehicles do not enjoy the same luxury and require a bit more effort. Get it right though, and you immediately showcase the car’s best qualities in plenty of detail, immeasurably boosting your chance of a sale.
However, photography is easy to get wrong–and a lot of businesses do exactly that. A lack of know-how or the scramble to get images online frequently leads to low-grade shots that leave the viewer unclear about what they’re looking at and questioning the dealership’s professionalism. If you want to sell more cars, then you can’t cut corners with photography. If you have the budget for a professional snapper then go for it–but handling your pictures in-house is perfectly doable whether you’re a veteran photographer or a newbie with a smartphone.
Why existing customers are a good bet
Repeat business is a sign that you’re getting things right, regardless of whether you’re selling cars or chocolate, but spotting the opportunity for a next-time vehicle sale is harder than it used to be. Physical interaction with dealerships is falling, and the dealership visit is typically the last leg of the buying process for most customers, who aren’t likely to come sniffing until they’ve done plenty of homework.
That applies to all customers, but those with whom you’ve already done business represent excellent opportunities to boost sales. You already know each other and you have past experience of their preferences and buying habits, which you’re well placed to exploit. For example, a customer’s existing finance contract presents a window into the timeline for their next purchase. There’s no sense in hassling them when they’re not in the market for a new vehicle, though, so it’s important to understand and identify when they are.
It is, however, quite possible to do so, courtesy of some joined up data – and the good news is that it can be done with most stock dealer management systems.
Ever wonder which cars sit at the top of shoppers’ wish lists? We decided to dig into our own data to find out. We looked at which makes and models were the most searched on CarGurus in each UK region, and, after analysing the data, we found that when it comes to sought-after vehicles, BMW leads the way. Its 3 Series cracked the top three in every region.
Know your customers’ digital route
In today’s digital age, there is almost no end to the amount of information customers can find online during their shopping process. Yet, the majority of buyers still visit showrooms to test drive vehicles and make a purchase.
To be able to reach these shoppers early on and steer them to your showroom though, you must first understand their digital journey—and analytics help make this possible. Whether a customer visits a manufacturer website, social media profile, third-party shopping site, or something else, analytics allow you to keep tabs on their digital footprint. When you tap into that information, you’ll be able to understand exactly how customers have made their way to your dealership’s website—and from where—so you can begin to tailor your messages accordingly and drive more traffic to your forecourt.
CarGurus’ inaugural One Voice Report, released today, brings together the opinions of more than 400 influential UK dealers on hot topics affecting the used car market. It touches on rising overheads, increased competition, government issues, and more, and provides valuable insights into how digital is helping dealers adapt to today’s changing market. Key findings include:
Fords of Winsford is one of the thousands of UK dealers that upgraded to a CarGurus paid listings package. We’ve been working with their group marketing manager, Nathan Quayle, for three years and he views the relationship as a two-way partnership.