A new trend is emerging in the consumer purchase of new and used cars. Motorists increasingly rely on social media and smartphones to make purchase decisions, and according to the CarGurus UK Buyer Insight Report; the use of smartphones on the motor trade forecourt is up to 71% from 59% in 2020.
Customers are doing lots of last-minute research in front of the dealer to compare prices and read motor dealer reviews.
The reliance on social media and smartphones in car buying is shaping the motor trade industry every day, whereas people have relied on car dealers for all their information in the past, they can now access the data from their smartphones from anywhere in the world.
How social media Is Changing the Buying Process
In the past, vehicle buyers would visit dealerships to search for the latest models, now many people begin their car purchase journey on their smartphones and only visit a dealership when they have settled on the model and brand of choice.
Mobile phones are making consumers savvy in the purchase process and negotiations, they arrive fully armed with information which alleviates the stress and anxiety around buying a vehicle.
Consumers also perform last-minute research on vehicles when meeting with dealers, for example, buyers are using phones to check the specifications, reviews, test drives on trade plates and comparisons with other cars for sale for reassurance.
After settling on the car and closing the deal, they can also take to social media to find an insurance policy.
Popular social media channels car buyers use include YouTube (41%), Facebook (37%), Instagram (21%) and Twitter follows close behind (13%). While social media is a good way to learn about vehicles, buyers should be careful of the sources they trust online.
How dealers can leverage social media and smartphones to Increase sales
With consumers relying on social media to learn about cars, dealers need to leverage content marketing and online branding strategies to keep buyers engaged.
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For instance, they can increase their social media presence and ensure potential buyers can access reliable information about their products and services. Providing helpful content online and facilitating information exchange can improve the sales process.
The CarGurus study also revealed that consumers would likely reach out to car dealers online or through instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp before face-to-face meeting.
Using instant messaging as the initial point of contact has increased from 5% to 9%. According to research, 45% of new car buyers reach out to dealers online before in-person visits.
As many buyers experience a rollercoaster of emotions during a big-ticket purchase, thorough fingertip research can make the whole buying process a lot more fun and a little less stressful.