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COVID-19 and the automotive industry: Where next?

With the automotive industry slowly coming out of lockdown measures, how have the first few weeks shaped up?

73.3% of consumers would still prefer to buy in person, in a showroom. This is reflected in the traffic retailers have reported from the first few weeks of trading. Demand is high and customers want to visit the dealership. There are a number of factors related to this.

Currently in England, showrooms have been one of the few retailers open. There is also a lot of pent up demand for delivery of pre-ordered vehicles and the need for a vehicle purchase due to public transport concerns.

We all know the showroom visit is not quite the same as it was. With social distancing and new hygiene measures in place, the industry is still adapting to the changes – and the need for contactless relationship building set to be in place for a while.

See what our CEO, Alistair Horsburgh, thinks about the short and long-term implications post-lockdown:


The now

Talks of reopening dealerships sparked a 59% surge of usage for WhatCar? and car sales rose to 20,000 in the UK in May, suggesting that the wheels of the automotive industry are, gradually, beginning to turn again.

A recent report by McKinsey & Company highlights that winning companies will capitalise on opportunities to adapt to evolving customer behaviours, deliver short-term business success, and strengthen their long-term strategic positions.

The recent pandemic has greatly increased the digitalisation of the automotive industry and with your websites being your online showroom, the online to offline experience has never been more important. Recent research from What Car? showed that nearly six in 10 are actively in the purchase funnel, meaning they are well on their journey to purchase. Bridging the gap from research to enquiry and subsequent follow-up, remains the element that will set you apart from your competitors.

Video can play a part here too. By using live and/or pre-recorded video as part of your sales process, you’ll have even more opportunities to bridge the gap between the online and offline experience.

When thinking about how you can incorporate video into your sales processes, the first step is to map out your existing customer journey. In doing so, you’ll highlight the areas of your customer journey which are likely to be most impacted by the need to remain contactless. These should be the areas you look to simulate via video first.

Whether it’s the initial appointment, test drive, or handover, these can all be delivered via video – maintaining that personalised, human experience, without physical contact.

We’re here to help

With the ever changing retail landscape it can be a challenge to keep up with change and know how to use all the technology at your disposal. We have a number of free of charge webinars to ensure you are up to date on all the latest CitNOW features and to help you improve your digital communications.