Press release

Auto Trader evolves car buying experience

Auto Trader evolves its consumer experience to help bring more confidence to car buying

As part of its commitment to make the car buying experience more transparent, Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, is introducing a range of features designed to increase consumer confidence.

The Auto Trader Car Buyers Report 2019 highlighted how frustrating the car buying process can be as a result of the lack of trust that persists in the market. It revealed consumers have three principal concerns when buying a used car: 86% of car buyers are worried they can’t trust the dealer; 88% are worried they’re not getting a fair deal; and 85% are worried that the information they’re seeing isn’t accurate[1].  

To help mitigate these concerns and to instil more confidence in the vehicle, the price and the retailer, Auto Trader is evolving its consumer experience in three key areas:

Retailer confidence

Firstly, the way in which retailers’ information is presented is being redesigned to help build trust with potential car buyers. Customer reviews are vital in achieving this and their central role in the process is highlighted by the circa one million that currently feature on the Auto Trader marketplace. Accordingly, along with Auto Trader awards (e.g. Highly Rated and Auto Trader Retailer Awards) and industry accreditation, reviews will be made more prominent, helping retailers to stand out from their competitors by showcasing their reputation and commitment to customer excellence.

Price transparency

Secondly, with nearly nine out of 10 car buyers worried they’re not getting a fair deal[2], a lack of price transparency remains one of the biggest barriers to purchase. Powered by Auto Trader’s award-winning valuations[3], flags for fair and high price vehicles are being introduced, along with how much the price is above or below the valuation. Not only will these flags (alongside the existing low, great and good indicators) help car buyers compare vehicles and reassure them that the price they’re paying is fair, but it will also help retailers demonstrate the value of their vehicle better than ever before.  

Auto Trader’s valuations are based on analysis of over 1.9 million vehicles each day, including 90,000 vehicle updates and an average of 19,000 vehicles added or removed from Auto Trader. These valuations are adjusted by derivative for age, mileage and spec. Coupled with data from circa 450,000 trade car listings every day, as well as additional retailer forecourts and website data, they’re the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

Vehicle confidence

Finally, to ensure car buyers are confident in the vehicle, mileage and extra feature indicators will be included to give the price more context. It is quick and easy for retailers to highlight options, upgrades and spec packs thanks to the introduction of a new ‘extra features’ function. What’s more, all the content relating to the car is being reorganised so that it is presented concisely together, including moving the description and specification further up the page and making it more prominent, as well as aligning the vehicle check with the rest of the car information.

Commenting on the changes, Karolina Edwards-Smadja, Director of Commercial Products at Auto Trader, said: 88% of car buyers think prices should be more transparent and one in three believe they would change their car more frequently if the process was easier. These changes to our consumer experience represent small but significant steps in building greater consumer confidence, which at a time when retailers are facing unprecedented challenges, we believe could make all the difference.”  

To make the most of these changes, retailers should provide as much information as possible when they advertise, including details on the specification of the car and all the service history available. Reviews are key to building confidence so retailers must treat them accordingly. Above all, retailers should price to market to ensure optimum speed of sale.

Karolina concluded: “When it comes to how impactful greater price transparency can be, the data really does speak for itself. We can see that retailers that price to the market consistently sell more cars, faster, and make more profit in the process, turning their forecourts another two times a year compared to those that don’t. In these difficult market conditions, choosing to price to the market from day one should be an easy decision for most retailers to make.”

 The new changes will be launched across all platforms from early December.

[1] Auto Trader Car Buyers Report 2019

[2] Auto Trader Car Buyers Report 2019

[3] Used Car Valuations Provider of the Year Car Dealer Power Awards 2019

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