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Digitization in the used car market: the informed customer

Three years of pandemic have made life more digital. The behavior of used car buyers has also changed. The first steps now take place in the online world, even if the purchase is then often completed in the offline world.

What are the online touchpoints that are heavily frequented by potential buyers of used cars - both end customers and dealers? On the one hand there are car portals such as mobile.de, autoscout24.de or hey.car. In addition, there are manufacturer and dealer websites as well as some other special offers - for example from the federal government.

An increasingly important touchpoint are social media networks such as Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. And the strongest new player on the market is Tiktok. It is a marketing trend in 2023 that younger people in particular are increasingly turning to social media for their searches instead of Google.

For sellers of used cars, this means adapting to this user behavior. Here it has to be filtered out what are only short-term fads and what are long-term trends. A key trend that has persisted for some time is that potential buyers look online first to get impressions and gather information. Here it is all about high-quality and detailed pictures or short films. In the second step, they ask themselves where they can test the desired model. The most important intermediate step for customers before the purchase and therefore the biggest plus for offline used car dealers is that customers want to test drive a car before buying it.

The test drive as a crucial offline touchpoint

This is where good salespeople come into their own. Because today's customers are usually well informed due to preliminary research on the Internet. Sellers who can competently answer the resulting questions build trust. An important reason for questions is that modern vehicles need to be explained. Anyone who has never driven an electric or hybrid vehicle before will surely have some questions about it. There are also typical questions such as 'Who drove the vehicle before?', 'Is it accident-free?', 'Is the inside and outside looking perfect?'. Sellers who can comprehensively answer all questions greatly increase the likelihood that a sale will be closed. So used car dealers would do well to fully adapt to car buyers who move between the online and offline world.

The psychology of the sales pitch

When it comes to physical encounters, the advantages lie with the used car dealers – provided they know how to turn the encounter into a sales experience. Good dealers adapt to their customers not only in terms of content, but also psychologically. Because in every conversation between seller and buyer, different types of people meet. For example, if an aggressive salesperson encounters a reluctant customer, the conversation can quickly end as the customer pulls away in fright. Good salespeople, on the other hand, are understanding, friendly, and engage with their counterparts instead of doing their thing.

A last important benefit of a used car dealer, who can contribute to the purchase decision, is their own workshop. Because the customer has everything from a single source: purchase, inspections and repairs. And if the workshop also offers TÜV or Dekra appointments in-house, the offer is complete.

Digitized live auctions for used car dealers

Buchbinder Sale is also constantly dealing with the topic of online and offline used car trading. During the corona pandemic, a virtue was made out of necessity. While there were live auctions in Neuenburg vorm Wald until 2019, only e-auctions have been held for the last three years. However, the aim is for live auctions to be held again in 2023. Not least thanks to the live auctions, Buchbinder Sale has been able to build up a loyal base of used car dealers. This good basis paid off in the Corona years.

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