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Our counterparts in Cox Automotive Europe recently released the March 2023 Consumer Dealer research results, which analyses answers of 3000 car owning consumers and used car dealers and poses the following overarching question: Are car dealers really set up for an Omnichannel Future?

Although the findings relate to consumers and used car dealers in Europe, we believe the survey highlights key questions and trends that are applicable globally relating to the influence of digital channels and tools on how consumers find and choose cars and, how retailers interact with their customers.

Over the following paragraphs, we share the findings that we found most interesting and share the link below for you to access the complete report and a way for you to connect with our local team in Australia.

For used and franchised dealers reading these words, we invite you to think about how these questions and answers apply to your business and how these insights can assist in developing a connected experience for your customers


What do used car buyers want?


According to the survey’s findings, 94% of the respondents expect their interactions with a dealer to be joined up and simple. In fact, two-thirds of the respondents think that it is very important to have a connected experience, whilst 80% expect details provided online to be available in-store.

Regarding how consumers search for a used car, 67% use a used car marketplace such as Autotrader, 62% physically visit a dealership, 53% research via a search engine, and only 31% visit a manufacturer or retailer’s website.

As for websites, 75% said that it influences their buying decision.

Digging deeper into dealers’ websites, respondents said that they expect an array of digital tools to help their search and decision making:

92% expect to search for available stock

73% expect quality photos

63% expect part exchange valuations

46% expect to see a walkaround video

29% want to have the ability to purchase



Managing expectations & digital functionality.


This part of the report studies a series of website features, such as video walkaround, quality photos, the ability to buy online, the ability to reserve a car, a finance application, a finance calculator, live chat and others, and compares consumer’s expectations vs how dealers, both independent and franchise are doing.

In almost every category, independent dealers and franchise dealers are ahead when it comes to managing expectations in terms of functionality, except for when it comes to video provision, with independent dealers trailing behind.



The appetite to access finance seems relatively strong, with 67% of consumers indicating that they want to finance; however, 52% of those consumers say they wouldn’t want it via a dealer’s website.


Dealers are investing in their websites and online capabilities.


For dealers in the UK, investing in their 24/7 salesperson is working, and the data confirms that they are seeing the benefits.

The survey results tell us that 83% of respondents invested in their website during 2022, and those who invested:

68% did so to improve the customer experience

57% were reacting to changing customers’ habits and behaviours

38% did so because of increased competition from digital disrupters



When dealers were asked about the benefits of omnichannel of an omnichannel approach: 72% said that it improves customer service, 60% said that it drives additional sales, 55% said that it improves business efficiency, 45% said that it reduces price negotiation, 40% said that improves brand experience. Other benefits mentioned were that it helps drive additional revenue and reduces the odds of customers dropping out of the sales process.

Finally, the report ends with a big question…


Do consumers want to buy cars online without any physical interaction?


Well, yes, they do. A quarter of our consumer sample either have or could imagine buying a car without physically seeing it, and 92% of the dealers responding think there is a demand to at least some degree. Just 4% said ‘no, not in my lifetime’ when asked if there is or will be sufficient demand.

And while 26% of the dealer sample experienced no demand for online-only sales last year, 70% said they sold at least one car this way and 15% sold between 20-50% of their 2022 volume online.



How do these findings stack up for your local dealership?


Here at Cox Automotive Australia, our Dealer Sentiment Survey is underway, and we are looking forward to sharing the results with you in Q3. In the meantime, our team hopes you find this report insightful and will guide you to ask key questions and measure key metrics in your current operations.

You can download the full report here.


Ready to connect with our local team in Australia?


Click here to submit an enquiry and a member of our team will be in touch. Alternatively, you can visit our Retail and Data solutions website here to discover how our connected suite of digital products can deliver to all your dealership requirements.