Woman in a new care driving away
Woman in a new care driving away

Adapting to change: key automotive trends from 2023

As the automotive industry continues to change rapidly thanks to evolving customer demands, environmental concerns, increasing regulations and emerging new technologies, now is a more opportune time than ever for dealerships like yours to remain at the forefront of industry trends.

Knowing what these trends are, and being able to react to them, can be critical for maintaining profitability, maximising the quality of customer service, and growing in the long term. This blog explores the biggest changes of 2023 so far, and what you can do to make the most of all the data and technology at your disposal.

Key automotive trends for 2023 – and beyond

We know that retailers are always looking at how to maximise lead generation and increase sales and aftersales opportunities. Three particular trends associated with this have stood out this year, and the good news is that retailers have been able to use technology to respond in all three cases:

  • Used car pricing: it has been a common challenge this year to strike a delicate balance in the pricing of used cars. The ability to track price and market fluctuations has given some retailers a real edge in this area, with tools like REALinsights INstock helping retailers check and update vehicle stock in seconds. Our data has found that INstock users have increased profit by £250 per unit and sold vehicles an average of 25 days faster.
  • Personalised touchpoints: this year, Real Time Communications (RTC), part of the CitNOW Group, has seen an increase of 5.5% in outbound aftersales calls to customers. At the same time, CitNOW has been utilised for 4.13% more sales and aftersales videos in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year. Both of these increases demonstrate the importance and value of making a real effort in connecting with individual customers personally and maximising all potential leads.
  • New and used car demand: the increase in outbound aftersales activity may be the result of changes in car demand. According to Dealerweb data for the first six months of 2023, new car enquiries are down 3%, while used car enquiries are up 33% and used car orders are up 46%. All this extra demand means simplifying sales and management can be a real time-saver for retailers, and help them make the most of every opportunity. Dealerweb Showroom and REALaftersales are useful here, respectively for ensuring customers get communications through their preferred channels during their sales and aftersales experience, and for managing every aspect of aftersales work from booking to marketing.
Using data to drive profits

In order to make the most of opportunities in a changing marketplace, it’s first important to quantify what you’re doing well, and where you can make improvements. Getting a single view of all activities and performance levels means you can maintain consistent standards, establish clear performance goals, and ensure all your sites have all the tools they need.

For example, Dealerweb Showroom means you can store all showroom customer data in one place, access it through the management reporting suite, and track the progress of business processes against revenue and profit goals. REALinsights can then report on the data inside Showroom and deliver trends and suggestions for change.

Using these insights to find efficiencies not only helps improve performance, but frees up valuable staff time in the showroom.

Likewise in the workshop, if aftersales managers can conduct performance reviews with technicians and service advisors much faster, and senior group members can quickly access KPI information group-wide, then they have much more time to maximise leads and revenue elsewhere.

Getting the best out of digital solutions

The best retail operations in 2023 – and indeed into 2024 – will be those who make the effort to understand individual car buyer needs, and adapt their approach accordingly. Our research has found that for 30% of retailers, providing a hassle-free customer experience is their biggest challenge, but this is where technology can help in smoothing out sales journeys for customers and retailers alike.

One particular area where many retailers have made substantial improvements is in their online listings. Our survey also showed that most consumers (62%) now prefer using dealership websites to research their next vehicle. High-quality digital resources, readily available in online listings are vital, as is getting those listings online as quickly as possible after a vehicle comes into stock. Auto Imaging can help with this, supporting the development of first-class digital content, including images, videos, personalised content, live feedback and background replacement.

In summary

The automotive retail landscape has changed so much in the last few years, and it will continue to do so in the months and years ahead. Responding to these trends is essential for every retailer that aspires to expand, grow, improve service and maximise profitability. With the help of CItNOW Group technology, you’ll be best-placed to realise your potential and gain market share, whatever the future may hold.

Want to discover how to make the most of your digital tools and data? Find out more here.