The process of finding a used car is now becoming much more sophisticated. In many franchised dealer showrooms today a customer may enquire after a particular car with a certain specification age and colour and so on, and a salesman may say we don’t have one in that colour or spec but we do have something near to your requirements.Nothing new there, only now the salesman can sit a customer down in front of his PC and search the web for an exact match. Whereas before it may say there is one a hundred miles away, now the dealer web site will often show a car on the screen as if it already belongs to that dealer and that the car is at a holding compound and for a £500 deposit they can bring the car down and (subject to it being as described the customer) can complete the purchase.
So what are the implications of this? Well with dealers currently under pressure to reduce stock levels and keep turning the ‘metal’ it is a helpful way of making a sale whilst not having to stock the car incurring interest charges etc. From the customers point of view they can buy almost the exact car which they can see complete with picture and full description right in front of them, and all they have to do is leave a deposit safe in the knowledge that if the car arrives and is not as described then they can gain a full refund. It looks like a good deal all round and certainly it’s becoming more common place in the business. There are obvious downsides like being able to drive before you buy (all used cars are unique) and putting your trust and money into someone you may have only just met, but in these action packed busy lives we lead time is of the essence and wanting immediate action can outweigh the time consuming slog of locating that perfect used car. In other words if you know what you want, go get it and as quickly as possible!
My own conclusion is that although we spend millions each year buying through the web, nobody has ever thought that the day would come when customers would exclusively buy used cars from the internet and maybe they never will, but this form of buying is on the increase and if dealers can offer an honest transparent service when conducting this kind of business then customers will start to tell their friends how easy and enjoyable it is and consequently more cars will be sold this way. On my travels there has been at least a 20% increase in people doing business this way over the last 2 years, what will it be in the next few years?
Subscribe to Motor Trade Insider by Email