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).
To say COVID-19 has disrupted the auto industry is an understatement. The global pandemic is continuing to sweep the world, forcing car buyers to re-evaluate their purchase plans and change their shopping behaviours. Despite the constantly evolving situation, dealers who are able to adapt still have the opportunity to bring in business and stay connected to their customers.
Here are four key takeaways from the recently released CarGurus COVID-19 UK Sentiment Study that you can use to adapt your business strategy to today’s new normal.
As the COVID-19 situation continues, we hope you and your family are safe. We want to let you know that as the very difficult climate for business persists in the UK, we’re here to support you however we can.
- We’ve reduced all UK listings subscription rates applicable to June by 50%.
- Your subscription will still be active, your contract with us will remain effective, and you will continue to receive leads.
- We continue to invest in driving traffic to CarGurus.co.uk to support the many buyers who are researching online and thinking about their next purchase: 63% of UK car buyers still plan to buy a vehicle this year, and of those nearly a quarter (24%) plan to purchase as soon as restrictions are lifted. In addition, 43% plan to purchase within three months.*
- We continue to move quickly and innovate our site to help you sell cars safely during this time. View a recap of the updates here, including more information on our Remote Sales Solutions.
While our workspaces may look a little different these days, the CarGurus Product teams are continuing to build new features and product updates that matter to our dealer partners. Here are the key CarGurus product improvements you can expect now, and in the weeks to come.
This is a repost of an article that originally appeared on our CarGurus blog.
Around the globe, many car factories continue to lay dormant as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Offices that would usually be occupied by staff managing all facets of the automotive trade, from parts acquisition to finance, are still empty. In many places—including the UK—dealerships have been shuttered, garages closed, and auctions silenced. Only limited services remain, to ensure those who need to stay mobile can.
This near shutdown of the global automotive industry, which began in earnest in March, has presented many with a rapidly changing and unpredictable situation. It’s resulted in dramatic and sweeping actions that have led businesses and private individuals alike into uncharted territory. This, coupled with continued unknowns about the new coronavirus itself, poses many questions for the future.
As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we continue to evaluate measures that our company can take now to manage through this challenging business climate and emerge even stronger. Today, we announced our prioritisation of the UK and Canada in our international market development, including focusing more of our resources and investments on driving growth and innovation in these core international markets. This includes accelerating site improvements and product development to benefit consumers and dealers as we continue to build our audience and seek to drive exceptional ROI for our dealer customers.