As the UK lockdown eases, dealerships across the country have been preparing to reopen their doors to customers as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Like many other industries, the motor trade has been dramatically affected by the pandemic and the imposed lockdown. With social distancing measures set to be in place for the foreseeable future, businesses will need to adapt to ensure successful trading in a post covid19 world.
Dealerships provide the vital link between customers and vehicle manufacturers and while adapting to the new normal is unavoidable, Dealerships will still have a firm place in the Motor Trade.
Improved Digital Offering
The lockdown has forced retailers to shop online and although dealerships are starting to reopen, it’s still unclear what the reaction from shoppers will be. Many may feel apprehensive about browsing a car showroom so it’s likely that the increased demand for online retail will continue for some time. This means that dealers need to invest in their website to ensure an easy and enjoyable experience for the customer. The virtual shop window is now an integral part of attracting customers and keeping them on the site so thought needs to go into both the design and functionality of the site.
The role of the Dealership
With more people browsing online for their next vehicle, it is likely that the role of the dealership will shift. Buying a car is a significant purchase, therefore, people will still want to be 100% certain they are making the right choice so viewing a vehicle and taking it for a test drive will still be on the agenda for most consumers. The browsing side will take place online and the final decisions are likely to be made at the Dealership. By setting up a ‘by appointment only’ policy and launching an online booking system, customers will feel reassured they can visit the dealership as measures to keep them safe are in place.
Thousands of vehicle owners have been unable to book a service because of the lockdown. Furthermore, with such strict measures in place, many vehicles across the country have been parked up for extended periods of time meaning they’re likely to have issues such as flat batteries and tyres. Although some car brands have extended the official service intervals for their vehicles, to preserve customer warranties during the pandemic, as dealerships start to reopen there is going to be a huge backlog of work to catch up on and a sudden influx of bookings. Aftersales is going to provide significant opportunities for dealerships to generate money so it’s essential that the department is fully staffed and up to the job.
The way dealerships communicate with their customers will change significantly from both a sales and servicing perspective. With sales from general footfall less likely, dealers will have to actively seek out new custom. This will mean enhancing existing customer communication in order to upsell additional products and services as well as identifying new opportunities to communicate with prospects. With social distancing measures limiting the number of people allowed in a dealership at any one time, telephone or video call consultations will become a much more efficient way of servicing customers. Ultimately dealers will need to be reactive and adapt to the communication methods that their customers are most comfortable with.
Increased Demand for Used Vehicles
Fears over the increased risks of catching the coronavirus on public transport is driving many people to buy used vehicles. Research by car sales website Auto Trader revealed 56pc of commuters with a driving licence who used public transport before the pandemic said they now expected to buy a car to get to work after the lockdown ended. This is likely to be a lifeline for many dealerships who may have been fearing the worst in a post covid19 market. Whilst there are no guarantees on how long this spike will continue for, it certainly gives some hope for businesses who are trying to recoup lost revenue since the lockdown.
At Perfect Placement, we understand that many businesses across the Motor Trade have been affected by the pandemic and as things begin to get back to a new normality, we’d like to remind you that we are here to support your recruitment requirements.