Marketing Delivery’s latest nationwide analysis of inbound enquiries to UK car retailers reveals that customer contact ‘capture and consent’ rates are at their highest level since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.
We examined data from more than 400,000 inbound enquiries on new and used vehicles made to UK car dealers in the first quarter of 2018 (before the introduction of GDPR) and during the first three months of 2019.
Capture rates on email addresses have grown slightly, from 88% in the final quarter before the new regulation, to 89% in the first quarter of 2019. Similarly, UK car dealers have captured prospective customers’ mobile numbers in 79% of all enquiries in the first three months of the year, compared to 80% during the same period in 2018.
Of course, capturing prospect data is now of limited value unless consent is also secured. The rate of contact consent – now required by businesses wishing to send marketing communications to prospective and existing customers – fell dramatically in the wake GDPR’s introduction, but has returned to its highest point since the regulation’s introduction last spring. Email consent was captured in 75% of all enquiries in Q1 2019, while mobile consent was secured in 62% of enquiries. This is still short of the average consent rate in the first quarter of 2018 (80% for email, 73% for mobile), but represents an improvement over the final quarter of last year, when average marketing consent rates fell to 70% for email and 56% for mobile.
The best-performing dealers are recording email and mobile communications consent in more than 90% of all enquiries. The worst performers are capturing mobile consent in just 21% of enquiries, with the lowest email consent rates sitting at around 60%. Customers are consistently more likely to let dealers communicate with them via email than phone. Importantly, there is also no significant difference between prestige and volume brands – so every dealer can benefit. GDPR has forced many dealers to revisit their data handling processes, and those that have adopted a more focused approach to lead management are reaping the benefits.
The data suggests that UK dealers are adapting to the new regulation, and are concentrating on data collection throughout the enquiry management process. The overall improvement over the final quarter of last year is particularly encouraging. While the growth in lead volumes may not be truly reflective of showroom traffic, it shows that dealers have a growing opportunity to communicate with their customers for sales and aftersales.
Our eCRM system helps dealers engage their customers and prospects with mobile-responsive email, SMS and social media messages, nurturing enquiries, increasing sales conversions and enhancing aftersales retention. In addition, ‘Car Alerts’ enables dealers to provide prospective buyers with automated ‘real-time’ notifications about new stock if their initial enquiry doesn’t immediately lead to a sale.