How to make the most of the transition to a digital used car marketplace

Online used car finance applications are the way forward in 2022, and online car purchasing is catching up.

Taking you back to the good old days, which has probably since been blocked from your memory… during the pandemic, consumers bucked the predicted trend of less car usage by buying and financing used cars in order to avoid using public transport. Alongside this, the demand for solo travel increased as the general public favoured a safer way of commuting.


With travel restrictions in place and almost all flights grounded, individuals couldn’t go on holiday. This meant many saved money by staying at home, and people began to find other ways to boost serotonin levels – with items such as a new car. Consequently, the used car industry saw a significant increase in sales, reflective of the higher-value used cars people were purchasing and also the used car price index increasing.

What has happened to the online market since the pandemic?


People continuing to buy online, are on ‘first name terms’ with delivery drivers, and the market for used cars & vans is still buoyant.

Whilst car buyers are starting to revert to pre-pandemic purchasing habits, they are maintaining pandemic buying techniques online. According to new figures released by iVendi, in 2022 almost half of all car finance applications will be submitted online.

Generational Influence

The younger generation, Gen Z, is far more likely to complete an entire purchase online and more likely to buy a used car than any other age demographic in the UK. Gen Zs are ethnically diversified, socially conscious, and environmentally mindful in general. They are going to influence the industry in the long term. This is a generation with whom you only have an 8-second opportunity to perform or perish. Mobile is the way of the future for them, which explains why commerce and mobile payment solutions are so popular. Here’s how you can secure an online customer in 8 seconds.

However, Gen Z isn’t the only generation buying cars online; the spike in used car prices has already prompted three-quarters of people to consider buying their next vehicle entirely online as research by WhatCar? Found.

Why are we seeing this trend?

The pandemic has made a substantial chunk of the used car-buying public more at ease with online transactions. While the vast majority will incorporate features of both a showroom and a digital journey, there is likely to be a longer-term trend toward online purchases. These journeys, however, all start digitally – whether they complete their purchase in the showroom or not.

Dealers have made preparations to accommodate that demand. Many have significantly improved their web presence in the previous two years, and the digital motor financing journey they offer is simply better and easier to use. Therefore, more consumers are more inclined to use it.

How are used customers digitally transitioning to your dealership?

Used car buyers are deciding where to purchase their next new car based on multiple factors. With the increased usage of digital tools, consumers are beginning to favour the benefits of being online.

  • Ease of purchase
  • Increased convenience
  • Time saver
  • No hassle

It’s essential to advertise all stock online. People primarily search for their next car online, so dealerships shouldn’t take this for granted nor underestimate the opportunity for this.

Customers are finding it easier to buy a used car in the comfort of their own homes. They are making the move to digital by Googling and conducting thorough research before making a decision. They feel in control when purchasing remotely since it’s convenient to find all the information they require, rather than talking to a car salesperson.

1. Website

According to 85% of adults, a company’s mobile website should be as excellent as or better than its desktop website. People need to trust a used car dealership and the quality of the website will determine that for them. Is your website responsive? Does it have a clear Call To Action (CTA – what you want them to do) and are they able to instantly tell what your dealership is about?

Is the mobile version ‘thumb friendly’? Mobile devices account for 68.1% of all website visits. Design is key for customer experience, if they aren’t able to press buttons, or accidentally click on ones they weren’t intending to click on, because the buttons are too close together, for example, they are more likely to leave your website and head to another used car competitor’s site. This is evident as it was found that after a negative user experience, 88% of users are less likely to return to a website.

Top tip: avoid using pop-ups on your webpage, as some devices may not allow users to click off it, therefore decreasing your chances of customers staying on your website!

We understand that this may appear intimidating, however, we have a solution. We’re here to help you, and to do so we have partnered with Car Dealer 5 where you’re eligible for a free website. Find out more.

Have you considered adding a Live Chat feature to your website? For those who may have more time to spare, we recommend including a chat feature, so you can increase conversion with your customers.

What are the benefits of Live Chat?

  • Improves website experience
  • Adds a personal touch to customers journey
  • Increases leads
  • Allows you to build customer rapport
  • Improves the support experience for customers

How to set up a Live Chat for FREE

2. Reviews

Before consumers use your services and purchase your products, they rely on testimonials. They need to judge people’s previous experience with your dealership in order to evaluate your level of service. 59% of customers read reviews. Before purchasing a product, 54.7% of consumers read at least four of these reviews.

Testimonials are important. Analysing customer reviews can help your dealership better understand overall customer satisfaction because they can give you insight into what your consumers really want.

Your audience is more active and responsive than you’d think, as almost half of all internet users claim they post online reviews at least once a month.

Allow customers to share their thoughts on their car-buying experience on sites like Google and Trustpilot. Locate your reviews on your website to make it easier for new customers to find. To collect feedback from new and existing consumers, use a free survey platform like Google Forms.

This will also provide you with information about your consumers, which you can utilise to better your business. This will assist you in developing more effective connections and sales tactics later.

To monitor and respond to reviews, you will need to set up a Google My Business account if you haven’t already done so. You will then be notified when someone reviews your dealership. Take advantage of your Google My Business page and include relevant images of your dealership and stock, as well as sharing your location. Google Maps does exactly what it says on the tin, puts you on the map. This is important for customers to find you in their local area in the first place.

When you receive a review, good or bad, you should aim to respond to it as soon as you can. Consumers want businesses to reply to bad reviews within a week, according to more than half of internet users.

3. Content

online car shopping

What makes content marketing so important for car dealerships? Here are some pointers to get you started.

  • It’s the most cost-effective technique to get people to visit your website.
  • It establishes a solid bond with your future clients.
  • It generates more leads, establishes trust, and elevates your online exposure above that of your competitors.
  • It provides a quantifiable return on investment (ROI).
  • You gain audience insights.
  • You gain insights into the current trends in the market.

Is your content relevant? From mileage to the driving experience, consumers are researching and evaluating everything about their ideal used vehicle. Take the time to create instructional and entertaining content that will assist customers in making a purchasing decision with your used car dealership by guiding and informing them.

Here’s a rundown of the finest kind of content for this information:

  • Posts on social media
  • Podcasts and blog posts
  • Whether it’s in video or text on your website, FAQs are a great way to get people’s questions answered

However, before some customers make a decision on a used car they want to buy or finance, they are usually searching for guidance for the best-used car models out there, for example. 

Taking this example, let’s say you have written a blog on the best-used car models in the UK. When they click on your blog or link from your social media post, not only are they obtaining the information they requested, but they are also maintaining brand awareness of your dealership. So, on the blog, with the models you have in stock, link to their individual pages to increase your leads.

This will also help increase your customer retention. Here is a list of the most popular used cars to help you get started for your content marketing!

To summarise, the market is transitioning to digital, it’s the way forward and there’s a whole new demographic to appeal to. But Gen Z isn’t the only group purchasing online, the rise in used car prices has already pushed three-quarters of car buyers to consider buying their next car entirely online. Becoming a digital dealership has never been so vital.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us or your Dealer Connector directly for additional support transitioning to digital or any questions regarding motor finance solutions, we’re always on hand to help you.

Helping used car dealers stay connected. Are you Connected?