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Unlock the lockdown: Enhancing the click-and-collect experience

Car dealerships across the UK are having to deal with a curveball of COVID-19 restrictions being thrown their way, and not for the first time this year. England is spending almost all of November under its second lockdown, while varying restrictions are also in place across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.



There is good news for dealers, however, on two fronts. The first is that (in England at least) dealerships have been allowed to continue operating on a click-and-collect basis, and many already have these processes ready to go from earlier in the year. The second is that buyers, on the whole, are much more positive about click-and-collect: Auto Trader research has found that over 70% of buyers are open to the idea. These two important points means dealers should be far better-placed to press on through the second lockdown than they may have been for the first.

But how does click-and-collect work in practice from a dealer perspective, and what role can video play in making the experience seamless and in reassuring customers? This blog covers the key considerations:

Making click-and-collect work

The basic principle of car sales on a click-and-collect basis is that everything is conducted online or over the phone, apart from the handover itself which takes place in a safe, sanitised part of the dealer’s premises. Given that there is basically no leeway to address any issues at the time of handover should they arise, this makes it absolutely critical that the ‘virtual’ stage of the process gives the customer as much information as possible.

This isn’t just information about the car itself, but about the logistics of the operation. And while a web page can provide this detail on a generic basis, a recorded or live video can give a personalised approach that goes into the specifics applicable to the customer, the car they’re buying and any other considerations like part-exchange arrangements. Ultimately, when the customer arrives for the handover, they should know exactly where they need to go, where the vehicle is and what to expect from the whole experience, without any apprehension or confusion. A video can do this in just a few minutes where a web page or email may need to be read multiple times to understand. Not only that, it’s another point in the process where you can put a face to a name and help maintain a trusting relationship with the customer when you can’t see them in person.

Handovers without contact

Contactless vehicle handover is an area where a number of CitNOW customers have already been blazing a trail in recent months with the use of video. And the experience and success they’ve gained there will now come into its own as click-and-collect becomes the only option for the time being.

Using personalised video means you can do so much more than send a customer details of a vehicle. It means sales executives can take their queries and address them directly in turn by walking through all a car’s attributes and showcasing their use where possible. For example, if a customer wants to see how easy it is to use an in-car entertainment system, the exec can take their camera into the car and demonstrate the ICE themselves.

When combined with practical information about the handover, a pre-recorded or live video can give the customer a complete, highly specific guide to their purchase, all in one place.

Don’t forget reassurance

The benefits of putting such a video together from the dealer’s perspective are clear, but the positives for the customer shouldn’t be overstated either. Although people have generally become more used to social distancing, some will still feel naturally wary and will want to be put at ease throughout the buying process.

This is where the ‘how’ of the video comes to the fore, rather than the ‘why’. Creating a video that runs at a relaxed pace, and uses softer and more positive language (both verbal and body-language) will work wonders in making customers feel reassured. It will also play a huge part in helping create an emotional bond between customer and sales executive which, even in the current situation, is just as important as it’s always been.

To get more detailed advice on how you can make click-and-collect work for your dealership, and on how you can best connect with customers throughout the pandemic, register for one of our free webinars.

We’ve also got a wealth of tips and advice on our How2CitNOW video series on YouTube.