Study Overview

Keyloop interviewed more than 600 car buyers across six countries early this year, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with dealerships from each territory, to evaluate the car buyer expectations from dealers regarding the car purchase journey and determine their interest in digital aftersales journey. In the UK, we interviewed over 100 car buyers who are mainly the decision makers in the car purchase process. We extracted the most important and interesting data to share crucial insights for dealers and OEMs seeking to digitalise their operations, while focusing on the key parts of the business that will potentially gain the best returns.

Who we surveyed

0%

female icon
female average age 43

0%

male icon
male average age 50

0%

bag icon in full time employment

£0k

house icon average household income

0%

house icon respondents are the sole decision maker

How to prioritise digital transformation efforts in the sales journey

Redesigning the sales journey

The survey results highlight customer opinions towards various parts of the car buying journey, from digital interactions with sales teams, to rethinking the test drive and online signatures/documentation. Based on the customer insights, we look at how dealers can enhance their sales processes to meet customer’s digital expectations in the car buying journey.

How do UK car buyers feel about the purchasing process?

Looking for a new car is always exciting

Looking for a new car is a hassle

Looking for a new car is always exciting

Looking for a new car is a hassle

Comfortable buying a car without seeing it

Only comfortable buying a car I have seen

Comfortable buying a car without seeing it

Only comfortable buying a car I have seen

No need to visit a dealership to buy a car

Need to visit a dealership to buy a car

No need to visit a dealership to buy a car

Need to visit a dealership to buy a car

67% of UK car buyers want to physically see a car before they purchase it and 63% believe it's still essential to visit the dealership before making their purchase. That said, 1 in 3 UK car buyers are already open to the idea of buying a car completely online.

How UK car buyers like to research and purchase vehicles

What sources of information are used to help car buyers shortlist their next car?

Online sources play the most significant role in helping car buyers shortlist their next vehicle, with 68% visiting online review sites, 65% visiting the OEM website and 58% visiting the dealers website. Friends and family recommendations and visits to the dealership are also considered to be important factors, with 61% and 40% of respondents respectively using these sources to shortlist their preferred cars.

Where do UK car buyers prefer to purchase their vehicles?

Which factors are most important for UK car buyers when buying a car completely online, either from an online portal or dealer website?

Which factors are most important for UK car buyers when purchasing a car at a dealership?

The survey reveals the most important factors for customers when buying a car using an online platform include the availability of all important and relevant information about the vehicle online, a competitive price and an easy/intuitive shopping experience on the website. However, when car buyers are shopping in a dealership, their top priorities are competitive price, staff knowledge, and the reputation of the dealership. Dealers must understand both digital and traditional methods are vital to maximise customers, and that an integrated “digital” and “in-store” experience is the way to achieve a truly seamless car buying process. In fact, the more information a shopper can find online about the vehicle and the further they can get through the purchase process, the more likely they are to ultimately buy a vehicle.

The segmentations of customers who are open to purchasing a car completely online.

Best prospects

0%

Prospects

0%

Mild prospects

0%

Non prospects

0%

Based on the interest in the online car purchase, customers are categorised into four distinct segments. Best prospects mean customers are extremely likely to consider it, prospects are at least very likely or likely, mild prospects are undecided yet, and non-prospects are either not very likely or extremely unlikely.

The opportunity for digitalisation in the purchase journey

What areas of the car buying process are customers most open to having digitalised?

Sales Engagement

0%

likely to consider personalised digital engagement tools to interact with Sales People remotely, either before or instead of visiting the dealership.

Test Drive Booking

0%

would love the option to book an extended test drive online.

Fixed Pricing

0%

would be open to having a transparent fixed price (not requiring negotiation) for their next new car.

Digital Documentation

0%

would be likely to use digital tools to sign and view key documentation related to the vehicle sale/contract.

How to prioritise digitalisation efforts in the aftersales journey

Redesigning the aftersales journey

It is now possible to make the consumer aftersales experience completely digital, prioritising customer convenience and transparency throughout the process, from key drop-off at a secure locker, to video updates on the vehicle status, remote digital payments and online storage of the relevant documents.

The opportunity for digitalisation in aftersales

How likely are UK car owners to use digital aftersales tools?

of UK customers are likely to use digital aftersales tools.

Extremely Likely

0%

Very Likely

0%

Likely

0%

Undecided

0%

Not Very Likely

0%

Extremely Unlikely

0%

A deeper dive into digital aftersales tools

Online Service Booking

0%

of UK car owners would like to book a service online

This rises to

0%

among best prospects

The ability to book car services and repairs online is the most favoured digital aftersales tool for UK car owners. This functionality enables customers to book a service appointment via the dealers website at a time that suits them.

Service Update Messaging

0%

of UK car buyers would like to receive updates during their vehicle service by text/WhatsApp.

This rises to

0%

among best prospects

Vehicle status updates via text or WhatsApp help the customer understand the work being done on their car and how far it has progressed through the workshop. This can save valuable time in missed phone calls between the Service Advisor and the customer, as well as increasing customer convenience.

Digital Communications

Video Recording

0%

of UK car owners would be interested in receiving video updates of work required for their vehicle.


Video updates help dealers to visibly show any issues with the car and get approval for repairs. Our survey indicates it is the third most favoured digital solution within the aftersales journey. It helps to improve transparency and gain customer trust.

Online Payments

0%

of UK car owners would be interested in the ability to pay online for maintenance work on their vehicle.


Allowing customer to pay online before collecting their car could significantly speed up the check-out process of the vehicle.

Digital Documentation

0%

of UK car owners would like to have their documentation stored digitally

This rises to

0%

for best prospects

Digital document management offers customers access to all documentation about their service in a digital format, stored in the cloud. Digital documentation helps to cut paper and ink by up to 80% and saves time in the dealership, helping to raise both customer and employees satisfaction.

Secure key drop-off and collection:

0%

of UK car owners particularly like the idea of secure key drop off and collection in a locker.

This rises to

0%

for best prospects

This service allows car owners to drop off their key in a secure locker and check in using a digital kiosk. The system integrates with the workshop diary to improve both the customer experience and resource management in the aftersales department.

Conclusion

Conclusion

The demand of digital transformation in the automotive retail and aftersales space has dramatically increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The learnings from the past years have driven the evolution of the personalised sales journey, integrating the digital and traditional store experience for customers using seamless cloud-based solutions. The survey results demonstrate the changing expectations of customers, as they demonstrate a desire to interact digitally with retail sales teams, the ability to book test drives online and in some cases, even complete the entire purchase process online. Whichever channel a consumer chooses to buy a car, digitally, in-person or a mix of both, the key to winning the deal will be providing a seamless, personalised and convenient purchase experience that meets these new consumer demands.

Adoption of digitalised aftersales tools has been key to improving the car ownership experience, ranging from online service bookings to video vehicle inspections, online payment and digital document storage. Our research report shows that customers would like to enjoy digitalised aftersales processes, which can also help improve efficiency and profitability for dealers.

At Keyloop, we create advanced technology solutions to help dealers and OEMs navigate the challenges and opportunities faced in the automotive retail and aftersales space to achieve a truly connected car buying and ownership experience, and drive growth.