Staying Ahead Online in Auto Retail

Guest post from Tristan Young, Editorial Director, .
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Over the past 10 years or so, one of the biggest changes to the way cars are sold has been the introduction of the internet and consumer behavior online.

Gone are the days of putting adverts for cars in printed weekly classified listings, such as Auto Trader or the local paper. And in has come a host of car sites to help car buyers find what they’re looking for. Indeed Auto Trader finally stopped printing its magazine last year. Now, as with almost every area of retail, the industry is geared to online.

Those car dealers that have embraced not only the fact that buyers now want to at least do all their research online, but also worked out how to communicate online have been successful and those that don’t lose out.

More than anything now, it’s not good enough for a car dealer to show their stock online. Now, car retailers must behave online how consumers want them to.

That means offering near-24-7 website monitoring with the capability to respond to enquiries – and these enquiries are increasingly outside traditional working hours.

It also means that dealers must also offer all the information that consumers need to be reassured that the site they are on (and looking at buying a car from) is not only legitimate, but also professional and easy to deal with.

It’s in this area that blogging has been very successful for retailers.

If a car buyer is about to spend, say, £10,000 (or easily more) on a car, then they want to know that the dealer knows what they’re doing, has been around a while and is staffed by sensible people.

Initially this was the job of the ‘About Us’ page on any company site. However, now that isn’t really enough. Buyers want to see what’s going on at a business and the faces that they could be dealing with when they buy a car. This is where blogs have been particularly successful for retailers.

Yes, it’s also about SEO, but for the consumer, it’s about making them feel reassured that they are dealing with a sensible person who can help them make the right decision.

Tristan Young

Editorial Director

Auto Retail Network