Laptop with car on screen stock image via Whistle PR for WMS Group but unbrandedLaptop with car on screen stock image via Whistle PR for WMS Group but unbranded


Dealers told to expect online sales spike as Omicron cases continue to rise

  • Omicron variant likely to lead to increased online sales, says iVendi
  • Motor finance company expects consumer behaviour to change regardless of lockdown
  • Most dealers now running improved online services due to pandemic

Time 1 month ago

Dealers are being told to expect a spike in online sales in the new year as cases of the Omicron variant continue to rise.

Experts at motor finance company iVendi say that the impact of the variant means consumer behaviour is likely to change.

They believe it will lead to a surge in customers heading online, rather than risk going into showrooms physically.

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It is thought that the surge will occur regardless of whether the country goes back into lockdown, meaning dealers should be prepared regardless.

Darren Sinclair, CCO of iVendi, said: ‘If the virus does prove to spread as rapidly as experts fear, there is every chance that it will affect how much contact people want with others as we head into the new year.

‘Whether we see an official lockdown or not may be a moot point, because individuals will already be modifying their behaviour, something that we have seen at other points in the pandemic when the risk level is perceived to be high.

‘The probable outcome of this for car, van and motorcycle dealers is that they will see a swing towards online sales as more people choose to shop for their car remotely.

‘While we don’t expect to see anything like the move to digital that would be experienced under full lockdown conditions, the change could be very marked and dealers should now be considering how to meet that potential demand.’

Since the start of the pandemic, dealers have had to adapt how they sell cars in order to survive.

The majority of firms now offer drastically improved online services, meaning the upcoming change should not cause too much trouble.

Darren Sinclair, CCO of iVendi

‘The pandemic has required almost all dealers to treat digital trading seriously,’ Sinclair added.

‘Many have undertaken a massive rethink, employing new approaches and new technology. We have seen massive improvements in two key respects.

‘Firstly, the range of online facilities provided by dealers has expanded, with more offering the ability to reserve vehicles, handle part exchanges, provide a complete motor finance option through to a final sale and more.

‘Secondly, the customer journey itself has become much more flexible. The online process no longer forces everyone down the same path, through the same steps.

A good example of this is our Digital Deal tool that enables a dealer to build an individualised proposition in under a minute and then send it to the customer. Introduced at the start of the pandemic, this has proven extremely effective.

‘All of these developments suggest that most dealers will be able to successfully manage the trading conditions of early 2021, whatever ways Omicron affects consumer behaviour.

‘However it is not too late for those who do not yet have the capability to sell a car online, our proven technology can be deployed quickly, easily and cost effectively.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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