08 July 2020

How we’re supporting our dealers

  • Dealer
Karen Hilton

Karen Hilton

CCO, heycar
Pete Audi Wimbledon.jpg

Back in March, when the doors to dealer showrooms up and down the country first shut, everyone at heycar was set an immediate challenge: what could we do to help our dealers during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The entire industry was forced to press pause on activity but no one could afford to stand still and wait for this to blow over.

This was an opportunity to show why heycar was launched last year: to increase the level of trust and transparency in the used car market not just for customers, but for our dealers too.

Keeping communication open between car buyers and dealers was key to capture data and insight to influence our decision making, product development and how we could ease our dealers’ concerns as much as possible.

How heycar helped

Throughout lockdown, we’ve continued to invest in our marketing channels. Recognising that many of our dealers would be cutting their advertising budgets and with more people spending time at home and online than normal, we knew getting eyes on stock would still be important to drive leads ready for when lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Customer intent was understandably different during this period and our ‘calls to action’ on the site also needed to reflect that. We launched a ‘Register interest for later’ button to capture and nurture those softer, less committal and lower intent leads during lockdown and reached out to those customers via email to tell them when dealerships started to reopen. Customers and dealers both responded well to the feature and it contributed to 25% of our overall leads.

To demonstrate our approach to continually improve the quality of leads we send our dealers we’ve recently released some updates with the primary aim of increasing the lead to sale conversion rate.

As lockdown restrictions ease, customers can now ‘Request a viewing’ of the cars they like. With higher intent in the market and staff gradually returning to dealerships, we’ve switched our ‘Call dealer’ button back on so dealers and consumers can connect directly. On top of that, we’re now sending customer postcodes to dealers with all leads, to help them better track heycar enquiries and match sales against those leads.

During lockdown, we saw a record number of visits and a 333% increase in weekly leads since January on heycar. That growth trajectory is showing little sign of slowing down as people return to showrooms and the ‘new normal’.

No one is under any illusion that there are still a lot of challenges ahead. But, we’ll continue to stand by our dealers to get the industry growing again.

And who better to tell you about our support than your dealer colleagues?

What our dealers have said

Mark Whitworth, Group Marketing Manager at L&L:

“We don’t use many third party sites but we’ve ditched the ones we have to pay for. We’ve seen better conversion on heycar leads during Covid-19 than other sites such as AutoTrader.”

Allen Scott, Marketing and Communications Director at Snows Group:

“We’re really impressed with how you’ve tried to support during lockdown. We appreciated the insight into heycar site behaviour.”

Jonathan Lingham, Head of Marketing at Pentagon:

“heycar has been brilliant if I’m honest. We’ve been working with you on investment and strategic long-term growth. It’s great to see how your platform has been developing.

“You’ve been very responsive to the challenges we’ve been facing and we have larger suppliers who haven’t been as responsive so what you’ve done is great and reaffirms to us you’re here for the long term and you’re going to help us grow.”

Steven Watters, Head of Digital Marketing at John Clark:

“For us as a group we always like to see the value and return of investment and if I look at our used car platforms and where we spend our advertising, heycar is one of the platforms where we do see a good return and a good number of leads coming into the business.

“We’ve seen the value in these initial few months so we look forward to a good relationship going forward.”