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How Car Buying has Adapted to Digital Changes

Perrys Used Car Outlet is a used car supermarket based in Doncaster, Milton Keynes, and Luton, that comes under the Perrys brand, stocking a range of quality used cars from popular manufacturers. Car buyers can browse the range of stock all under one roof, reducing the time and effort associated with finding their next car.

Much like other dealerships, we have had to make changes to the way we sell cars over the past 12 months.

If you purchased a car from a dealership during 2020, there will have been some noticeable differences between your previous car purchase and your most recent one, mainly due to the global pandemic.

If you were in the market to purchase a car but decided to put it off due to the pandemic, you may not be fully aware of how the automotive industry has adjusted to car buying over the past 12 months.

A recent study, conducted by CarGurus, suggests a huge change in the attitudes of buyers during the pandemic, with a lot of potential car buyers putting off purchasing until restrictions had lifted. On the flip side of this, there were also increased numbers of car buyers entering the market where the requirement for owning a car became an immediate need rather than a nice-to-have, particularly during the first lockdown of 2020, when it was advised against traveling on public transport and key workers were still working as normal.

Perrys Used Car Outlet, much like all other dealerships, has had to embrace new technologies as dealerships were forced to close. One of the noticeable changes was allowing customers to reserve and even complete the full end-to-end purchase of a car online, only visiting the dealership to take an unaccompanied test drive or to collect their new purchase. This itself reduces the amount of face-to-face contact, keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.

This feature can prevent any wasted journeys with the car being sold before the customer arrives for a test drive. Once a reservation has been made on a vehicle, that car is taken off sale for up to 3 days, all for a fully refundable fee of just £50.

Car buyers can also complete the full end-to-end purchase of a quality used car online, without needing to visit the dealership until the car is prepared and ready for collection.

Purchasing a car online has been one of the biggest switches in customer buying, as the CarGuru’s study states: ‘Before the pandemic, 35% of respondents said they were open to buying a vehicle online and that has increased to 60% as of the most recent November research. This openness to buying online has not wavered since June (60%) or April (61%)—despite dealerships reopening across the country.’

As well as end-to-end e-commerce, car buying has had other digital enhancements, from video sales calls to at-home test drives and home delivery options.

These new options, which have somewhat been forced upon dealerships and the automotive industry as a whole, can benefit car buyers by taking a lot of the stress away and reduce the time associated with the car buying process.

As part of the CarGurus study, car buyers during 2020 were asked their reasons for not delaying their car purchase during the pandemic and the results vary greatly but might surprise those who did decide to delay.

Among the answers were that sellers were offering deals that were not ordinarily available, which shows that those who were proactive in car buying during 2020 likely got a much better deal due to the situation at the time.

Others identified that they felt they could shop safely, which only enhances how car dealers have made the safety of their colleagues and customers a priority in order to keep business running smoothly. Dealerships have all managed their Covid precautions differently, but most, including Perrys Used Car Outlet, have adopted a series of one-way systems, Perspex dividers, hand sanitising stations, and compulsory face covering as standard.

Additional to the standard dealership precautions, here at Perrys Used Car Outlet, the vehicles themselves have undergone rigorous cleaning between test drives, unaccompanied test drives have been introduced, and click & collect has become the preferred method of transaction over the past 12 months.

The same participants, but this time those who decided to delay purchasing a car, were asked for their reasons as to why they delayed. Where some answers came down to financial worries, 36% said they were uncertain about their new working situation (working from home, etc) so the need to purchase a car has not been deemed a priority. 29% of participants felt unsure about the safety precautions in place, worried they would put themselves or others at risk.

If you have delayed the purchase of a car, whether that is down to safety worries or you are unsure if you can come and visit our dealership, feel free to get in touch with us and we can help put your worries to rest.

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