Are you considering whether to buy a car during coronavirus? The outbreak has caused a great deal of uncertainty for both businesses and customers. Changes in the environment impacts our lifestyle choices and buying decisions. Buying a new car is not an exception, especially when so many things have changed in the automotive market.
Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveals that car registrations for July increased by 11.3% from last year's mark – a sign that consumer confidence in the market is starting to return. So, exactly how are things different for both customers and businesses? How has the process of buying a car from a dealer changed? With the help of expert insight from Alex Brown, Jardine Motors' Head of Digital Marketing and Transformation, as well as valuable data produced by consumer insight analysis from Google, we dug a little deeper.
Emerging Trends That Affect The Post-Covid World
Social media listening giant Brandwatch revealed that consumers are driving more. The average number of drivers looking for directions increased by 89% between mid-May and early August.
And an expert team from Google has identified a few key trends regarding the automotive sector:
- One-in-eight public transport users say they will look to buy a car as an alternative means of getting around.
- A quarter of consumers indicated that financial uncertainty impacted their car buying process.
- Search interest in the term "dealership near me" fell by over 70% between February and April 2020.
- Meanwhile, 50% of people said they would rather sign all documents electronically, and seven-in-10 would prefer to finalise their purchase at a non-dealer handover area.
- The number of customers who would consider buying online has risen from 70 to 80%.
Buying a car during the coronavirus era is likely to look very different. How are dealerships adapting to those changes, and what does that mean for the customer?
Buying A Car Online Is The New Normal
Online sales and well-developed e-commerce capabilities are commonplace in various industries. Covid-19 has changed the commercial landscape of the automotive sector, bringing more focus to digital customer experiences. Buying a car from a virtual showroom with virtual customer support became a new normal for car dealers.
Mercedes were the first to offer a fully digital solution with contactless home delivery as the pinnacle of the service. Many other brands and dealerships followed the same path, offering customers a comprehensive service that was available from the comfort of their own homes.
Alex explains: “As a customer you can go through that process of finding a car, doing your finance application online, having a credit decision, selecting your delivery slot, choosing to pay a delivery charge, having the car loaded onto a transporter and delivered to your home. So we are now doing end-to-end transactions of cars without people ever setting foot in the dealership. In terms of the capability, the current crisis has massively accelerated what we can do.”
A study conducted by The BMW Group Institute for Mobility Research shows that 67% of premium brand car drivers are generally open to buying their car online. Almost half of them expect an entirely contactless sales process. Fortunately, many dealership groups addressed these needs by creating fully digital experiences for their customers. Nowadays, even the handovers can be virtual to run you through the controls of your new car before you take delivery of your vehicle.
Safety The Number One Priority
Of course, the wellbeing of everybody is of paramount importance, a message reinforced by Jardine Motors Group CEO Neil Williamson. Dealerships across the country are implementing a wide range of measures in order to protect both customers and staff, including sites opening on an appointment-only basis, the wearing of face masks, showroom and vehicle sanitisation as well as social distancing at all times.
Choosing Your Car Is Easy With Virtual Assistance And Connected Test Drives
For customers who prefer the comfort of their home, most of the dealerships offer remote appointments over a choice of video platforms. These calls can be a great channel to have a discussion, take a virtual car walkaround or talk with product experts about possible vehicle configuration.
Connected test drives
To make sure that customers don't miss out on test driving, most of the dealerships now offer a connected experience. You can enjoy your test drive from any preferred location during a pre-booked appointment. To ensure your safety, the team will deliver the car to you, provide disposable seat covers and sanitise the main touchpoints before you get behind the wheel.
The connected experience enables you to test drive a car at a safe distance from one of the dealership representatives in another vehicle, asking questions and learning about the functionality of the car over hands-free telephony.
Buying A Car During Coronavirus With Jardine Motors
The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty, so it's understandable if you're unsure about whether to buy a car during coronavirus. Jardine Motors Group are here to offer the best customer experience addressing your needs. Whether you prefer a completely contactless digital experience from the convenience of your own home, or receive a warm welcome in our dealerships, we will make sure you are safe and comfortable at all times. Ultimately the decision is yours, and if you believe it's time for a fresh set of wheels, then we have a number of new and used vehicles available.
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