The automotive industry in the UK is an extremely lucrative one, responsible for over £74 billion in revenue for 2021 alone. While car showrooms and used car providers are the backbones of the industry’s retail arm, development in e-commerce sectors has seen the face of business change – and in order for newer businesses to compete, they need to embrace the migration of customers to online spaces. But how do you start an automotive business online?
You will already have a clear idea of the specifics of your business; it may well be that you have successfully started a retail automotive business already, and are looking to recreate your success in the digital space. Your first concern should be the platform on which you will mount your business. There are a number of e-commerce platforms, each with its own benefits. To decide what kind of platform would be right for you, be sure to carry out market research on other online used car dealerships and note down what you like about their storefront.Also read: How to Start An E-commerce Business From Scratch in 2021
Buying a car is a significant investment, and not a decision taken lightly by the average customer. As such, your prerogative as an online retailer is to remove as many obstacles to sale as possible – including payment methods. Some customers may be turned off by an inability to pay via a certain class of credit card, or by another transaction company like PayPal. Services like Klarna enable customers to offset the immediate financial impact of a transaction and could increase your sales figures if offered as an option.
In many ways, an online platform is only as good as its marketing. Retail automotive sales are different; a physical location is its own advertising, resulting in organic brand awareness in your local area. Online storefronts are harder to find organically, without a structured marketing plan to make customers aware of your business. Social media marketing is a strong way to raise awareness, where posts can be targeted to specific demographics with ease and organic interactions can be encouraged.
With a service that exists predominantly in the digital space, it can be easy to forget just how important direct customer service is to any company’s success. Even as your customer base navigate a website and a series of automated processes in order to find the car they want, there will still need to be a level of communication with human beings – whether due to a question about an offer or a complaint about a transaction. Creating a customer service team can help you navigate the human element of your business effectively, and foster a positive relationship with your customer.
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