With so many dealers competing, a seamless, transparent and trust-inducing part exchange experience could really set you apart. Those who can’t make this happen may see customers take their part exchange to the long queue of competitors who will be glad to see them grace their forecourt.
Establishing this trust goes far beyond the transactions involved in buying the customer’s old car off them and selling them a replacement. It starts from their very first enquiry, and runs through the valuation of their trade-in and their exploration of their prospective new vehicle. At every stage of the process, how the customer feels about the whole thing is vitally important: they must feel comfortable and confident that they’re making the right decision. Likewise the retailer needs to be able to make an accurate valuation with full details of the condition of the vehicle at their disposal.
Research from Martec has shown that confidence is the most common emotion among car buyers, but fear and discomfort are next on the list. That’s why it’s so important that salespeople put customers’ minds at ease with an approach that is warm and transparent throughout. This blog highlights the key elements of a successful part ex process, and how technology can help.
Why this is important
In the short term, there is pressure on dealers to hone their part exchange processes because of a shortage of used cars on the market.
This is being caused by two factors in particular. The first is that prospective new car buyers are turning to the used market because of long delays in new car supplies, caused by a global semiconductor chip shortage. The second is that many people who would usually use public transport are turning to used cars to minimise their exposure to COVID-19.
These factors have fuelled dramatic rises in used car prices: according to Autocar, prices have risen by as much as 10% in the last 12 months, and by almost 20% for SUVs. But it’s also kicked off an arms race between dealers as it becomes harder and harder to get used stock on the forecourt, and part exchange is increasingly being used as a way to keep those stock levels up.
However, the benefits of perfecting part-exchange extend far beyond the current market conditions. In the long term, dealers will face ever increasing expectations from customers to deliver smooth experiences with trust at their core, whether customers are part exchanging in person, digitally or through a combination of the two. A smooth experience is also an efficient one – saving time and effort for the retailer as well as the customer.
The tech-led part ex process
As with any element of modern car sales, technology can play a leading role in supporting a streamlined customer experience and providing an easier, more engaging buying journey.
In the context of part exchange, tech can help dispel some of the long-standing difficulties that exist, by enabling large parts of the process to take place virtually, with vital information and customer contact being integrated:
- Fair valuations: our research reveals that more than three-quarters of retailers feel the biggest challenge in part exchange is customers valuing their cars above and beyond what they’re really worth. Good part exchange platforms integrate independent valuation data into the process, so that customer expectations can be measured against wider market information and a fair price can be reached. This functionality can even be useful when a customer is on the forecourt in person, as it speeds up the process and creates an audit trail that other staff members can access.
- Remote assessments: while the pandemic is currently receding, the lessons learned in conducting car inspections and assessments remotely are still hugely valuable. On a part exchange platform at a time that suits them, customers can upload their own images and videos for retailers to assess, and a grading function can be used to quantify the scale of any damage or wear and tear on the vehicle. This ensures that the right assessment can be made as to a vehicle’s true condition and value, without any biased information from customers, even when an in-person inspection can’t be made by the retailer.
- Personalisation: a good part ex platform will allow for a strong personalised experience for both parties. From the perspective of the customer, the process is managed directly with the retailer, and if the platform is integrated with a wider sales solution, the customer can seamlessly move into video contact with a salesperson over their new car. Additionally, from the retailer’s point of view, the platform can be branded with their corporate logos and other information to give a slick, professional impression to customers.
The CitNOW Group has recently launched Tootle, a new online tool that simplifies the entire part exchange process like never before.
To process a part exchange, the retailer first shares their branded Tootle platform link with the customer via its website, an email, SMS or through its CitNOW Sales video presentation page. The customer then submits their vehicle details, adds their desired exchange value and creates a Tootle account, which allows them to easily manage their part exchange process. The dealership can receive customer images and video securely – as well as make and manage offers – directly via their Tootle dashboard.
Tootle uses third-party valuation data from industry experts cap hpi to help develop greater levels of trust and transparency. What’s more, Tootle’s integration with CitNOW Sales allows customers to take the next step directly from their video presentation page at the click of a button.
But that’s not all – explore Tootle’s full range of features and benefits here.