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Is digital the way forward or are we seeing a temporary surge in click and buy behaviour due to COVID-19?

With the likes of Cazoo and Cazam investing in significant infrastructure and marketing, never has there been more discussion, however is it really going to change?

COVID-19 has affected every business in many ways, however one thing it has done is really improved the digital and online processes implemented by the dealership network. With click and collect having been in place for months now, dealerships have improved their customer experience, digital processes and adapted methods to now meet the new way in which some customers want to transact.

Many believe that consumers want to visit a physical location to touch and feel their potential new car purchase, as well as speak to people within a showroom environment, however others believe the days of a physical showroom are doomed. 

Having worked closely to the industry now for close to 20 years, the model hasn’t dramatically changed over that time and consumers appear to still enjoy touching and feeling a car, as well as visiting a physical premises. Of course during COVID customers who have wanted / needed to change their vehicle have had no alternative other than to utilise the click and collect offering, however I remain of the view that physical locations are here to stay for the long term. Yes, there will be some consumers who just want the ease of selecting a vehicle online and purchasing it, however a significant number still want the experience and to visit the dealership.

Dealers need to ensure they have a balanced model that can meet both markets, to fully exploit the opportunities, which in the main the majority are already doing, however those who believe it’s the end of the road for the dealer network is completely wrong in my opinion. 

Once COVID has passed, yes we may see a reduction in physical representation across the country but that won’t be of the scale some suggest – maybe 5-10% absolute maximum. The industry does a great job, is extremely resilient and yes digital strategy is hugely important, but customer experience and service remains equally important.

The next step

For any further information or support, please contact David Kendrick or your usual local UHY adviser. 

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