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Relevance, rather than price, is now driving how consumers search for their next vehicle. Digital assets have now become even more important than ever.

 

In August, Auto Trader changed its algorithm to display the most relevant, high quality matches rather than being price led. No longer will the lowest price vehicle be displayed at the top – instead, consumers will be served a list of vehicles which best reflects their search criteria. The benefits to the retailer are proven – in its pilot phase, Auto Trader found leads delivered to retailers increased by 10%.

In the past, savvy retailers would often be able to maximise the chance of their vehicle appearing higher, by adjusting the pricing – with some doing this on a daily basis. Whilst price will continue to be a crucial factor for car buyers, the new algorithm will make the experience closer to how consumers search for all manner of other goods and services – from holidays to insurance and household items.

Whilst these changes in approach are more in keeping with consumer expectations, they rely much more heavily on vehicle content. Auto Trader have highlighted the importance of car descriptions, accompanying imagery and video walkarounds to boost the quality of listings. It will be even more imperative for retailers to ‘pitch’ their cars accurately, highlight the best features and provide extensive imagery to maximise a vehicle’s chances of being seen by the people most likely to buy it.

A relevance-led search also means additional pressure to get vehicles uploaded with full content as soon as they’re ready to sell. Otherwise, ads risk not be able to compete with more detailed listings and falling down the search rankings.

Overcoming the hurdle of simultaneously displaying a vehicle on the physical and digital forecourt is the forte of CitNOW Web. Bridging the gap between the actual and digital showroom, Web enables retailers to upload a vehicle’s digital assets as soon as it’s retail ready.

Enabling the capture of still images, 360s and video in one go, CitNOW Web does away with the need of traditional photography and having to collate assets from different sources. Used vehicles to go from being retail ready to fully uploaded on dealer, manufacturer and classified websites within two hours thanks to a wide range of integrations – including with Auto Trader.

We’re planning significant enhancements to CitNOW Web in the coming months. The first, automatic background replacement, will allow dealerships to replace image backgrounds with a clean, consistent backdrop in seconds.

Visitors to this year’s Automotive Management Live event can find out more at CitNOW’s stand C14, and discover ways to bring the physical and digital showroom closer in alignment at its masterclass session.