Embracing the Internet: What’s new in 2016?

Once again we have surveyed the Motor Trader Top 200’s web presences to establish what tools and services they are employing to help drive their businesses online. Inevitably there are movements, but most interestingly two highly important elements of being online have hit saturation point within the UK’s top dealer groups – representing a first within our survey which has been running since 2010.

100% social. 100% mobile.

Yep, for the first time in the six year history of our ‘Embracing the Internet’ study two of the online aspects we monitor have now been taken up by 100% of the UK’s top 200 motor retailers. Looking at the two, it is mobile optimisation that has had the meteoric rise – up to 100% from just 9% of the top 200 in September 2010. Social media has been used by more dealerships for longer, with 50% of them using it back in 2010 and a more gradual increase to reach the magic 100% mark now.

Focus on conversion tools

Over the past three months the number of dealers offering tools which actively help convert browsers into strong web leads has increased. Finance calculators are proving extremely popular, up 8% from December to reach 71% of the Motor Trader Top 200. Instant online vehicle valuations have been adopted by an additional 7.5% now standing at 44%, and live chat is up a modest 3% – totaling 47% of the top 200.

Good news for Aftersales

For the most part, aftersales tools have seen a notable increase in uptake – especially online service booking which is now available through 66% of the top 200’s websites. This represents an increase of 21% compared to just three months ago. Online tyre provision is up too, with 15% of the top 200 offering the service, up 2% on December 2015. Service plans have taken a slight hit, with a 0.5% drop to 8%, albeit service plans remain a very popular point-of-sale add on within the showroom.

The wider social scene

As mentioned above, we know that now, 100% of the top 200 has a social presence of some kind, but the breakdown of who is using which channel does show some variation. It’s Twitter that has the most users, with all 200 dealerships now using the microblogging platform to communicate with customers. All but one dealership operates a Facebook profile too.

YouTube has seen a significant increase in uptake, reaching 82.5% of the top 200 compared to 73% in December last year. LinkedIn has seen the biggest increase in use, however, up 27% compared to December with 71.5% of the top 200 now using it. The use of blogs has remained almost static, with just one more dealer using the medium compared to December, now totalling 40.5% of the top retailers.

Conclusion

Compared to last year where there was limited movement, there has been significant changes in the tools the Motor Trader Top 200 are using. Importantly, we are now at a point where all of the top retailers in the country have a social presence and a mobile-optimised website in a first for the industry. Uptake of value-adding web tools is up almost across the board, with only a few elements registering a fall. This goes to show that perhaps more than ever, the UK’s motor retail industry is appreciating the importance of a strong online presence.

About GForces

GForces is Europe’s leading provider of digital solutions to the automotive industry. Working with more of the UK Top 200 dealer groups, more OEMs and more international businesses than any rival, we help our clients navigate and maximise their online presence across mobile and desktop platforms.
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Author: GForces (610 Articles)

GForces is Europe’s leading provider of digital solutions to the automotive industry. Working with more of the UK Top 200 dealer groups, more OEMs and more international businesses than any rival, we help our clients navigate and maximise their online presence across mobile and desktop platforms.