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How dealer web sites are becoming their “real” storefront

Aug 04, 2016

James Tew, CEO, explained: “The clicks-and-mortar model will remain the norm for almost all car dealers but there is an important cultural change underway.

“Franchise dealers especially are asked to spend huge sums of money on their retail premises but it is difficult to quantify the actual impact it has on sales and therefore justify the investment.

“The truth is that, for most customers, their first contact with a dealer in 2016 is digital, whether through accessing the dealer’s web site directly, via a car portal or though another route.

“As a result, we are seeing signs that more investment is being switched into ensuring that their digital proposition is as strong as possible. They know that this has become their real storefront to the world.”

James said the iVendi view was that the market would not move to an overall digital model, without physical dealerships, but that dealers would increasingly make it possible to undertake the entire customer journey online.

“Our findings are that the vast majority of customers switch between digital and physical interactions with the dealership in a very natural manner. An e-mail might be followed by a phone call or a web search followed by a dealership visit.

“But the fact is that more and more dealers with whom we work want to offer a complete online process for buying a car, so that customers can choose to use the online elements that they want, including motor finance.

“It is here that the main investment is taking place and where we the switch to the digital storefront is most apparent.”

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