Published: October 2022
Do fewer enquiries necessarily translate into fewer sales conversions?
With over 400 dealership clients, we have plenty of data available to analyse and use to monitor industry trends. We’ve also been doing this for 15 years and, combined, have well over 100 years of experience in the Automotive industry, so we’re pretty confident in our ability to understand the industry.
One key change in recent years, mostly thanks to the pandemic, is the change in buyer behaviour. More and more customers are beginning their research online and only enquiring in person when they’re ready to commit.
In fact, pre-pandemic, the average time between customer enquiry and purchase was 16 days; during the pandemic it was six, and today it’s only five. The downward trend continues as customers make their enquiry armed with ample research, and their decision nearly made before they even reach the showroom.
We are also seeing a drop in sales enquiry levels. The latest analysis of our dealer clients at over 400 locations shows an astonishing 26% drop in enquiries in the past three months, compared to last year.
Interestingly, we evaluated a sample of nearly 600,000 customer records created between 1st January and 31st August 2022 for dealers across the country and found that, on average, 92% of records included an email address – which is an all-time high.
We’ve observed a steady year-on-year rise in email capture rates, and today’s figure compares favourably with the (still impressive) 83% rate we reported five years ago.
Conversions On The Rise
Thankfully, despite the seemingly grim statistics on enquiry levels, many of our clients’ conversion rates are rising – most likely due to:
✔️Increased capture and consent levels and, therefore, the ability to accurately engage with and market to leads.
✔️Customers now being much further along their buyer journey by the time they make their enquiry.
For example, a review of our Stock Alerts service shows that pre-pandemic, the number of people who received an alert and then bought a vehicle was 11%. In September 2020 during the height of the pandemic, this figure dropped to 5%, but it’s now rising again and is currently at 8%.
This increase suggests that even though enquiry volumes are down compared to the pre-pandemic norm, the customers making those enquiries are genuinely in the market to buy. And it’s now vital to stick to the failsafe processes that dealers have relied on thus far and keep capture and consent levels high. Trust the process to keep customers engaged with your dealership and not another.
With stock levels remaining low, some dealers might be tempted to delay recording a lead if they believe a purchase decision is likely to be too far into the future. But we encourage our clients to log every single lead, no matter how intangible, and then allow automation to manage the process until a conversion is more likely – notably due to improved availability of relevant stock.
Our VoiceBox software helps to overcome common challenges the sector is facing. The digital marketing software allows dealers to manage sales, aftersales and social communications in one intuitive platform. The multifaceted tools also incorporate a lead management system, full in-depth reporting functionality and the ability to integrate with other providers – including Dealerweb, EnquiryMax and Keyloop.
Sound good? Contact us today for your free, no-obligation demo.