Successive lockdowns during the last 12 months have dramatically closed the technology gap between used car sales digital disruptors and established franchise and independent dealers, says iVendi.
The specialist in motor retail technology believes that being forced to trade online for extended periods of time has meant that many dealers – perhaps the majority - have much improved their online sales provision.
James Tew, CEO, said: “We’ve been saying for some years that even the smallest independent dealer can provide a comparable service to a digital disruptor with access to many millions of pounds of funds. During the pandemic, that has started to happen.
“For a relatively low cost, any used car retailer can offer a complete online digital journey that includes a stock search, finance calculator, part exchange, finance application, final sale and delivery.
“These tools are generally presented as the USP of the disruptor but we now have all kinds of dealers in all kinds of places who can offer exactly the same kind of online journey, having adopted them during the pandemic.
“The fact is that if you haven’t offered at least some of those facilities, you’ll probably have had a pretty tough time financially over the last year and maybe not even survived. They’ve become a prerequisite to successful used car retailing.”
James said that iVendi had seen a rapid programme of digitisation among its dealer customer base during the pandemic year.
“We’ve seen two key trends. Previously, many of our dealers who digitised a few elements of their sales process online have now evolved a more comprehensive online buying experience.
“At the same time, and this has been enabled by our new product range, we’ve seen a move towards what we are calling ‘connected retailing’ which is a retail model that works equally effectively for online or showroom sales, allowing consumers to switch between these two channels while delivering a consistent and seamless experience.
“For us, this approach is very much the one that we believe is right for the foreseeable future. While we are sure that more and more sales will continue to move online, we still see a key role for the showroom well into the future.”