But buying intent and online enquiries both rise…

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on consumers’ willingness to visit physical showroom facilities, according to a new nationwide research study we conducted. 40% of UK drivers say they are now less likely to visit a showroom while researching the purchase of a car, as a direct result of the pandemic.

This does not mean there has been a downturn in demand. On the contrary, the same study identified that almost a third (32%) of UK drivers are more frequently browsing dealer and classified websites for new or used cars during lockdown. Furthermore, 33% say they are now more seriously considering the purchase of a car, thanks to their reduced household expenditure in 2020. Among Londoners this figure is even higher, with over half of respondents (54%) now more seriously considering the purchase of a car.

Our research also highlights the increased numbers of younger people looking to buy a car. Among 18- to 30-year-olds across the UK, almost two thirds (59%) said they were more seriously considering buying a car due to reduced financial outgoings during lockdown.

This new analysis gives a sense of scale to the unique sales and marketing opportunities – and the challenges – faced by dealers as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dealers should be considering how best to implement an ‘always-on, immediate response’ approach to their enquiry management function, with a view to converting as many enquiries as possible.

“Automation makes contacting potential buyers easy and gives dealers a safety net. Programmatic communications can be used to set up a ‘virtual dealership’ which proactively sends tailored communications to individuals. Automation also takes the pressure off sales teams by facilitating immediate responses to enquiries and quickly opening up a line of communication with prospects.” – Jeremy Evans, Managing Director

Tailored automated responses for sales and aftersales enquiries with eCRM

Our VoiceBox Sales system is an electronic customer relationship management (eCRM) platform that helps dealers engage with customers and prospects. Using mobile-responsive emails, SMS and social media messages, VoiceBox Sales is designed to help dealers respond instantly to customers with relevant automated messages that are tailored to customers’ individual enquiries.

By integrating eCRM technology into their contact strategy, dealers can reduce the time and labour required to reach out to interested buyers, while boosting their chances of converting prospects into sales.

Sales teams can use eCRM tools such as our Car Alerts system to keep potential used car customers engaged and updated with day-to-day stock changes. Car Alerts automatically generates and distributes tailored emails to potential customers that enquire about a vehicle, updating them with details of relevant new stock and any price changes on existing stock.

Its ‘Real-time Click Alert’ system detects when customers open these emails to view a vehicle online. It instantly sends an automatic alert to the dealer with the customer’s pre-qualified contact details and the specific model that has been viewed.