We’re quickly heading towards the final quarter of 2015 and for us that means one thing: We trawl through the Motor Trader Top 200 to ascertain what digital tools and services they are utilising, enabling us to benchmark against previous assessments and give the top motor retailers in the UK a digital ‘health check’.
Increasingly we’re moving towards saturation in some areas, so movements in terms of adoption of digital tools has slowed significantly. Another thing to bear in mind is that over the summer there isn’t only a lull in car sales; many dealers are also busy consolidating their digital presences and planning up-coming campaigns ready for the September plate change. This too adds to the lack of movement.
However, despite the lack of seismic changes in terms of web tool adoption, there are changes worth noting. Twitter and Facebook continue their unrelenting march towards saturation point – each notching up another Top 200 user to reach 99% and 98.5% respectively. Whilst the take-up of YouTube has remained static at 72.5%, a 0.5% increase in dealers embedding videos directly on their websites has seen this climb to 74% of the list.
Looking at aftersales, there has only been one change in that the proportion of the Top 200 offering an online service booking tool has fallen by 0.5%, reducing its total to 44.5%. Tyre quotation and booking remains at a lowly 11% and online service plan quotation and purchasing is lowlier still, at just 6.5%.
In terms of tools that help convert browsers into leads the picture is again quite static. The use of Live Chat is up by 0.5% to 44% whilst the proportion of dealers using online valuation tools has dropped by 0.5%, taking it to 33% in total. Finance calculators have claimed an additional user to reach 59%, possibly driven due to the prevalence of finance as a means of funding a car, not to mention more stringent FCA regulations that mean dealers have been driven towards employing tools that help them to be transparent with their customers.
Out of all the various digital elements we monitor, the single biggest change has been in dealers utilising the Reevoo consumer reviews product – increasing by a comparatively healthy 1% to reach 7% of the Top 200.
As you can see, the lack of movement within the Embracing the Internet study isn’t limited to any one type of digital tool or service – it is across the board. Any fluctuation that has occurred is probably too small to be an indicator of a trend and to an extent, some of the tools we monitor, such as video and YouTube, are at the stage where if a business was going to start using it, they probably would have already done so.
That’s not to say that other tools won’t increase in prevalence in the coming months. Typically, we see a bigger jump towards the end of the year and into the New Year as businesses rethink their strategies for the next period.