Online Car Dealership in Singapore: Trends 2021

Car prices are exceptionally expensive in Singapore, topped off with high COE prices and car insurance, one must heavily consider before buying one. Which is why the second hand car market in Singapore is thriving. With the digital shift accelerated due to the pandemic, it is set to continue post-pandemic as more consumers realise the convenience of having a plethora of available cars in one place – the internet. 

We consider the automotive industry to be rather traditional, with potential buyers needing to physically visit car dealerships and showrooms, having to go through salespeople, go for test drives and finally filling out a ton of paperwork. While car dealerships have been gradually transitioning online, not many have fully realised its potential in streamlining the buyer process and driving conversions. 

Here are some trends we’re seeing in Singapore that car dealers are starting to adopt in their digital strategies:

1. Placing more emphasis on customer service

As with any customer journey, details of your product, in this case, the car – are of utmost importance. The most fundamental part of customer service in selling any product, is providing sufficient information to potential buyers. Customers won’t come to you if you can’t provide them the most basic details for them to even inquire about. 

Shifting online doesn’t mean you can slack off on engaging with your customers, customer service must still be a priority. Potential buyers expect the same level of service they would expect from a physical shop or showroom, which is fast responsiveness and little to no wait time.

In the event that you cannot dedicate resources into responding to messages immediately, CarouBiz’s new auto and quick reply features allow you to send automated messages or create templated messages to save time. As such, you’ll be able to let the buyer know that you have confirmed the receipt of their enquiry, and how long they can expect to get a reply from you.

2. More investments in digital advertising

Digital advertising is also a growing trend as more car dealers are diversifying their marketing tactics. Omnichannel marketing is also a great way in getting the attention garnered online to translate into physical traffic in instances where customers prefer to visit showrooms or to test drive cars. Omnichannel marketing is a tactic often used by businesses with retail stores to get online traffic to translate into offline traffic by diversifying their business exposure through various digital channels. This is especially helpful as the automotive industry still relies heavily on testing of cars before buyers make purchase decisions due to the high-value nature of cars in Singapore.

Make use of advertising options that marketplaces offer to maximise your visibility on the platform. Carousell Ads like Bump, Spotlight and Profile Promotion are extremely easy and affordable investments with proven returns.

3. Changing search habits

With Google at the forefront of online search, buyers can now easily gain access to product information, peer reviews and company information as well. This means buyers can read up and analyse on their own before making a purchase decision, and are less likely to rely on information from brands and dealerships themselves. As a result, this changes up the role of salespeople in the automotive industry, and companies will have to change their approach to meet buyer expectations. 

In order to stay relevant, car dealers need to understand their target audience’s online consumer behaviour as best as they can. Partnering with online platforms and marketplaces will allow dealers to gain valuable audience insights which will enable them to optimise their online car listings and tailor a personalised buyer experience for consumers who choose to engage both online and offline.

Understand your buyers with CarouBiz business insights, or stay in the know with Carousell College’s insights portal.

4. Shifting consumer habits: virtual shopping

As the digital shift causes more buyers to move away from the traditional showroom environment, virtual options are becoming more commonplace. Every step of the traditional buying journey can be translated into virtual means – that means seeing the showroom, deep diving into car specs, and meeting the sales people all through online means. While VR and AR are seeing much interest, it is not common in Singapore yet, which means much of this virtual experience will be reliant on live or on-demand video content. For the automotive industry, quality video content provides a huge leverage over competitors and opens up more space for potential in marketing strategies.

Videos are an excellent way to build trust. Demo videos provide buyers with quality information that static images cannot. Put up video thumbnails with CarouBiz – this is especially useful in showcasing cars with various features. Video thumbnails on Carousell get 4x more clicks and listings get 50% more leads

As many dealers adapt to the digital shift, marketplaces that cater to the automotive industry are seeing an increasing uptake in car listings, and have thus begun to increase their service charges. At a time where finances are tight, Carousell stands with you by alleviating your financial burden while providing you with the best tools to sell your car. We’re lowering our listing fees from 1000 coins to 200 coins, that’s a $10 to $2 equivalent of fees, essentially lowering prices by 5x.