Plenty of car dealers will be pleased to know that customers still want to visit a dealership before buying a car. The State of the Nation Industry Report 2021 by JudgeService contained the results of a survey with 2,150 participants, all of whom had purchased a car in the last few years. It showed that 73% of drivers would rather set foot in a dealership before putting cash on the table. And, we have to say, we’re not surprised.
There are plenty of benefits to customers visiting a car before buying it, as it gives drivers a chance to chat to an expert about their potential purchase. In a few cases, seeing the car beforehand can also persuade customers on the fence to go for it, as opposed to simply clicking ‘exit’ when buying online.
Despite the strong survey results, the idea of customers still being able to visit a dealership did seem to be up in the air for a while, as Covid pushed a lot of drivers into buying online without seeing a car in person beforehand. And, while the survey shows that almost 75% of UK drivers want to visit a dealership, it does have some strings attached. Social distancing is a must for a lot of customers, although this shouldn’t be too difficult for most small businesses. After all, the easing of lockdown has given many businesses a lot of practice when it comes to Covid measures.
The effect of small dealerships moving online
There are far more small dealerships with some sort of online presence today than ever before. After the continuous lockdowns across the UK, it became necessary for a lot of small businesses to move online in any way that they could, and this has meant that our process of buying online has never been so easy.
While many buyers will stick to an in-person visit, the survey showed that around 10% of car buyers will use ‘click-and-collect’ services or delivery to their door. According to JudgeService, this choice of purchase is most popular with customers between 36-45.
On top of this, the survey found that 81% of drivers are looking to buy a new car as soon as possible. For dealerships, this could be a great time to reconnect with any existing customers. Managing Director of JudgeService, Neil Addley, offered advice to used car dealerships, urging dealers to ‘use their databases to contact customers who have bought cars within the last 36 months to reap the benefits of these opportunities. Invite them down to the dealership, offer them a Covid-safe test drive and nurture that relationship between dealer and customer again and again.’