Since the start of the pandemic, dealers have had to learn to become businesses that can switch between offering extremes of primarily online and showroom-based retail – or any point in between – at a moment’s notice.
This is a crucial development, as it has changed the relationship between those two spheres almost certainly permanently.
Dealers who saw themselves as digital-first or showroom-first concerns now exist only in niches.
Almost everyone has adopted a hybrid approach, and there is a growing and widespread recognition that the majority of car, van and motorcycle buyers use both paths at some time in their buying journey and expect to be able to switch between these two channels at will.
Certainly, there is plenty of evidence of this.
For example, the average car buyer spends about 270 per cent more time online than in the showroom (reference: CMO Survey) but 80 per cent still want to complete a test drive before buying (reference: What Car?).
These are not contradictory impulses. Instead, they are the best use of each channel at different moments in the purchasing process.
So what does this mean in 2021? Simply that dealers will need to provide an equally positive and complementary experience for buyers digitally and in the showroom.
It makes sense to consolidate the systems used to handle their needs into one solution, and at iVendi we believe that now is the right time for a concept that we call ‘connected retailing.’
We link retailer, lender and consumer at every stage of the buying process – research, decision and purchase – through an integrated range of three online products that are uniformly effective both online and at the dealership. We call them ENGAGE, CONVERT and TRANSACT.
There is much discussion at the moment about the new normal and what it might look like.
We believe that at a moment when consumers expect absolute flexibility and the ongoing effects of the pandemic demand it, the world we are describing here is the new normal – and connected retailing is the right approach for this world.
The iVendi connected retail range
ENGAGE is designed to help consumers find the right vehicle.
It rewrites the rules for online car, van and motorcycle search by completely turning on its head the process through which relevant dealer stock is shown to the consumer.
Instead of rigid dropdown menus driven by the assumption that people already know which model they want, it uses the natural language adopted by the majority of vehicle buyers, narrowing their inquiry rapidly and successfully.
CONVERT facilitates the process of transforming initial online consumer interest in a vehicle into a sale.
Key features include a reservation tool, finance eligibility checking, finance application processing, multi-lender quoting, and consumer-centred finance product information and videos.
It also introduces iVendi’s innovative stock engine technology, which proactively checks for data conflicts in vehicle identification information.
TRANSACT develops online consumer interest in a specific vehicle through to a final transaction while managing the complexities of the sales process.
It also enable deals to be created online in the same way as a face-to-face conversation, with flexible negotiation over price and other key factors such as value-added products, using something iVendi calls a ‘Digital Deal’ to enable a natural, ongoing style of negotiation.
Since April, Digital Deals have been used to generate sales totalling more than £82m.
Founded in 2009, iVendi is the market leader in motor retail technology both in the UK and internationally.
With a modular product range that engages consumers, converts buyers and manages transactions, iVendi technology interacts with around five million consumers every month and thousands of motor retailers, manufacturers and finance providers.
The company is based in Colwyn Bay.