Online car buyers still shop locally


Genuine online car buyers prefer to shop with dealers that are close to them, despite the offer of nationwide door-to-door delivery of vehicles ordered on the web.

Analysis of UK car buying patterns from data held by iVendi shows that the average online car buyer’s address is 32 miles from the dealership, compared to an average of 99 miles for all visitors who have looked at the same dealer’s stock online.

Rob Severs, vice-president of data and insight at iVendi, said: “While the online geographical footprint of each dealer will be different, this shows that there is a general catchment area in which casual shoppers are more serious about purchasing.

“If you know where your geographical sweet spot is, you’ll have a better idea of the propensity to buy. The casual shopper who looks at full-page adverts on your website from 200 miles away may still be a serious buyer, but it is less likely.”

Severs warned dealers against ‘vanity metrics’, such as focusing on the volume of website traffic, and instead urged them to concentrate on data that added business value.

He said: “We are building up a set of metrics that are more useful in business terms – that help dealers sell more cars, more finance and more added value products.”

The e-commerce solutions company has also found that used car buyers are much more likely to enter their details into a dealer’s online motor finance system if it doesn’t leave a footprint on their credit record.

James Tew, iVendi CEO (pictured), said that offering potential customers the option to make a “soft search” and look at a range of suitable offers is crucial to ensuring that the potential of online motor finance is optimised and ethical.

He said: “An increasing number of customers are becoming better informed about how a hard search can potentially damage their credit rating, especially if they make a number of applications in a short period of time.

 “Yet very few motor finance providers provide the opportunity to make a soft search online. This is both counterproductive and, in our view, simply not fair on the customer, who is often just going through the process of looking for the best deal.”

For the past five years, iVendi has been offering a car finance checker, which allows vehicle buyers to check out their finance eligibility on multiple occasions with no impact on their credit rating.