No, we’re not talking about late night eBay purchases...

With interest in online car shopping growing and both dealers and car makers keen to provide services for digital-savvy buyers, new research has uncovered that a small but important minority are happy to buy a car sight unseen.

Data from the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has revealed that 10 percent of car buyers are more prepared to buy online without seeing the vehicle, if they’re purchasing from a franchised dealer. There have also been significant recent developments in the car sales market, with a growing number of car makers offering consumers Amazon-style ‘click & deliver’ alternatives to the traditional buying methods.

Keen to capitalise on the growing trend for online-based sales, Exchange and Mart is preparing to unveil a new ‘click and collect’ proposition of its own, which it boasts is set to change the used car marketplace for both dealers and their customers.

With the backing of its publisher owners, Newsquest, Exchange and Mart has been developing the new online end-to-end process for the last 18 months. The new offering is said to help buyers save up to 80 percent of the time it currently takes to purchase a used car and do all the paperwork, making it faster and easier to make the final purchase.

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Explaining the concept, Thom Coupar-Evans of Exchange and Mart said: “We’re promising the first selection of dealers who place their used car and pre-reg stock with us a chance to opt-in to our new offering, allowing them to upload to the new site free. This will put their cars in front of a substantial audience generated from around 30 million unique visitors each month.

“In addition, links with Automotive Media and their partners will then seamlessly manage the remote sales process and actually 'sell' the car to our customers, returning the supplying dealer their full screen price.”

This approach could potentially be viewed not only as disruptive but also one that could be in direct conflict with car dealers themselves. However, commercial director for Sal Ciullo reassured dealers, saying that the new sales model should prove attractive to buyers unhappy with the traditional way of purchasing a used car, and those already comfortable shopping online.

Source: Exchange and Mart

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New figures by the NFDA’s Trusted Dealers reveals that 10% of car buyers are more prepared to buy online without seeing the vehicle, if they’re purchasing from a franchised dealer. The BBC also revealed major changes for buyers using ‘click & deliver’ technology for new car franchises including Renault and Peugeot**.

This comes as Exchange and Mart prepares to unveil a new ‘click and collect’ proposition, which is set to change the Used Car marketplace, for dealers and their customers. 

Working in partnership with Automotive Media, and with the backing of its owners, Newsquest, Exchange and Mart has been developing the new online end-to-end process for the last 18 months. The new offering will help buyers save up to 80% of the time it currently takes to purchase a Used Car and do all the paperwork, making it faster and easier to upgrade their vehicle.

To be unveiled in the coming weeks, existing Exchange and Mart dealer customers with a strong Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) process in place are already being invited to sign up to the new proposition, free of charge.

Thom Coupar-Evans of Exchange and Mart explains, “We’re promising the first selection of dealers who place their Used Car and pre-reg stock with us a chance to opt-in to our new offering, allowing them to upload to the new site free. This will put their cars in front of a substantial audience generated from around 30 million unique visitors each month. In addition, links with Automotive Media and their partners will then seamlessly manage the remote sales process and actually 'sell' the car to our customers, returning the supplying dealer their full screen price.

“In effect, our process sends in a ready-made 'cash' deal at full margin – something never done before. There are no advertising costs or set-up fees, no dealership costs and no FCA issues to worry about.

“This product offers the same benefits as a cash-paying conquest customer walking into a dealership. With no time spent selling or any marketing investment, the dealer makes a sale at full screen price with also the first option to buy the part exchange. We’ll be launching the new proposition in the coming weeks, which attracts customers who already prefer to buy online and don’t like the old style sale process – offering dealers a wider audience at no extra cost.”

Ex Dixon Motors MD, and now Commercial Director for Automotive Media, Sal Ciullo adds, "Using a substantial mix of online and offline advertising and a collaboration of several big name partners, we will reach customers with what we believe is ‘a unique concept’, which puts buyers in control of how they like things to be done, including the test drive and collection date. 

“Whilst this sounds like it could be the dealer’s enemy, it’s not. What we’re doing is attracting customers who already have a dislike for the old style sales process and giving them everything they need to buy the dealers’ car online. There is a major need for this today given the overwhelming research that shows our younger audience and female buyers’ dislike for the old routine”. 

Newsquest, Exchange and Mart’s parent company, own more than 200 websites generating over 30 million unique views per month and along with press adverts featuring weekly in 200 of the company’s press titles, plus other planned offline media, the new brand looks set to generate one of the biggest ever conquest audiences that weren’t looking to change their car for at least another year.