Enhancing Customer Engagement & Retailer Efficiency
Enhancing Customer Engagement & Retailer Efficiency

Opportunities to enhance conversions in a ‘Product Push’ market

The extended delivery timescales for new cars seen in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic are a distant memory. Today, we see strong levels of supply from existing and new manufacturers. It all has the hallmark of a push market, or in other words, it is a buyer’s market.

The ‘push’ is particularly prominent for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in light of the Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Mandate. 

Time to embrace the challenge

In 2023, our Dealerweb platform, utilised by over 1,000 retailers in the UK, revealed notable industry trends: 30% of new car enquiries translated into orders, marking a 15% increase in new car orders compared to 2022, while 31% of used car enquiries resulted in orders. Additionally, there was a 5% uptick in both used car enquiries and orders compared to the previous year, contributing to a 16% rise in the total order volume for new cars and a 9% increase for used cars.

Assessing year-on-year conversions, despite having 2% fewer new vehicle enquiries in 2023 vs 2022, conversion rates increased from 25% to 30%. It suggests clear evidence of a concerted effort to close more leads. The used car market saw conversion rates stable at 31% in 2023.

Equipped with this benchmark position, here are our thoughts on how some of the tools within the CitNOW Group ecosystem can help more retailers gain an edge in lead generation and conversions.

Stock pricing 

Pricing is crucial in turning customer awareness into action in an online search. It is vital to ensure that stock is priced appropriately. This is where RTC Insights ‘InStock’ can be very effective. With access to data from hundreds of retailers, in real-time, a retailer can check that their stock is priced correctly and adjust this pricing as it ages.

At the same time, RTC Insights provides data on stocking days and can track lead management trends. It is a package that applies science to the traditional art of used car stocking, and the fact that so many retailers use it is evidence of its effectiveness. 

Online lead generation 

While 10% of car buyers will buy their next car entirely online, the rest will on average visit 2.7 retailers and conduct 3.75 visits. This insight is taken from research provided to CitNOW by international research and consulting organisation ICDP, based on feedback from 2,430 consumers.  

What we can take from this is the critical importance of a retailer’s digital presence. Certainly, price is a part of the customer equation. Still, the importance of an emotional connection created by the quality of promotional activity and the engagement experience gained by the prospective customer in the research part of their car-buying journey, should not be underestimated. Creating positive perceptions and then delivering them matters. 

When it comes to images and video, CitNOW Imaging provides quality assurance with its AI-enabled capabilities. Fast, efficient, and visually stunning, it is outstanding and rapid in taking images and ensuring stills and videos can be uploaded automatically to marketing platforms.   

As well as expecting high quality digital assets, today’s car buyers often want a seamless, personalised, and flexible experience and multi-channel touchpoints; a new offering from the CItNOW Group ecosystem’ CitNOW Conversations, delivers this.

Retailers can engage with every online visitor in real time by adding a live chat widget and a WhatsApp icon to their website; Facebook Messenger & Google My Business Messages are other options. The platform makes it easier for customers to start conversations and discover more about the cars they are interested in, whether it is new or used. With the ability to also integrate into an OEM app, the platform is much more than just a communication hub.

The part-exchange sales lead opportunity 

According to CitNOW Group’s Uniting customers and retailers report, some 56% of customers said they would be more inclined to buy from a retailer that provided a part exchange offer before visiting the dealership. CitNOW Appraise, digitises the part exchange valuation process and enables a seamless customer journey from your website or CitNOW Sales video presentation page It allows customers to provide essential vehicle information, photographs, and videos to create a complete information/image portfolio that helps retailers offer an accurate and authentic valuation.  

Converting online interest into action 

Getting someone to test drive a car, and they are more likely to buy, is a well-established mantra in car retailing. In today’s omnichannel marketplace, however, there is a step ahead of this: converting online interest into a showroom visit. 

Building on CitNOW Conversations’ lead-building capability, CitNOW Sales elevates the customer’s digital experience, taking the car and dealer to the customer digitally. This step helps create the bridge that brings the customer into the showroom. 

Specifically designed for sales executives, CitNOW Sales builds on a customer’s initial online experience by providing personalised videos of vehicles in response to a customer’s enquiry. The engagement and emotional connection with the car, retailer, and sales executive are compelling. The process also bypasses any concerns that they might feel about a face-to-face experience. CitNOW Sales is about creating rapport and trust, which can take as little as 60 seconds to achieve. 

Inevitably these are high level summaries of some of the support available across the CitNOW Group ecosystem. To discover more about how our tools can help and be tailored contact us, we welcome the opportunity of helping you.