AS the car market gears up for a period of post-lockdown growth, the coming months will pose a busy but exciting time for dealers across the country.
According to a recent What Car? survey, 59% of people are planning to purchase a vehicle in April and wider industry research suggests that a boom in car sales is predicted to last until June.
With consumer demand at a high, used vehicle finance provider, V12 Vehicle Finance (V12VF) – powered by Secure Trust Bank – has outlined four key steps independent and franchised dealers across the country can take to tap into post-lockdown success, while ensuring the safety of staff and customers.
Prepare and review stock
Ensuring dealers have access to the right stock is a vital first step. With a car buying rush expected, dealers should evaluate their current portfolio of vehicles and identify if they could add additional stock ahead of reopening showrooms and forecourts.
For independent dealers that may not have access to additional capacity and resources, particularly if usual business operations were scaled back during the pandemic, securing stock funding through a finance provider and sourcing used cars through its auction partners is a great way to gain access to additional vehicles through an integrated and efficient system.
Spring clean forecourts and vehicles
Many dealers will already have Covid-secure safety measures and procedures in place, however it’s important to sanitise and deep clean the entire premise and all vehicles ahead of welcoming customers back.
Alongside sanitisation, general maintenance and cleaning will need to be undertaken. As forecourts haven’t been in use, weeds and moss will more than likely have built up during the lockdown, so dealers will need to ensure that forecourts are as presentable as possible.
This step is also a good time to check vehicles for any damage or potential maintenance issues so these can be fixed in good time. It’s also worth reevaluating and reviewing pricing for vehicles and identifying any cost changes which might need to be made.
3. Introduce a digital booking system
As the country moves once more into a post-lockdown landscape, digital support will become more important than ever. To ensure safety guidelines and social distancing is adhered to at all times, a booking system will need to be implemented by all dealers for appointments and test drives. For customer convenience, an accessible online booking system is the most efficient and effective way to do this.
Some customers might also feel nervous about returning to showrooms once restrictions have been lifted, so to give them further peace of mind, dealers and sellers should be willing to use technology such as video conferencing tools to discuss options with customers and show them vehicles where possible.
Enhance digital support
The effects of the lockdowns has meant that many dealers have greatly improved their online sales provision in the past 12 months. Joining forces with a digital-first motor finance provider to streamline online operations is a great option for dealers looking to elevate their digital operations.
Platforms such as iVendi deliver a fully connected platform to offer a complete and connected digital experience that includes stock search, finance calculator, part exchange, finance application, final sale and delivery at the click of a button.
Ciara Raison, Sales and Marketing Director of V12 Vehicle Finance said that in a post-pandemic landscape, dealers should be looking to blend their physical showroom experience with their digital touchpoints to provide an end-to-end experience and give customers greater convenience and choice, allowing car buyers to switch between the two channels effortlessly.
According to V12VF, the majority of its dealers have been using these integrated platforms to keep their businesses sustained during the lockdown.