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Dealers Lag Behind On Ecommerce, Missing Out On Vital Aftersales Income

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BEARSTED, UNITED KINGDOM – August 7, 2009: The vast majority of the UK’s car dealers are missing out on valuable aftersales income by failing to offer an effective aftersales ecommerce facility on their websites. According to G-Forces, the UK’s leading specialist automotive web management firm, only 16 per cent of the UK’s top 200 dealers have websites that feature an online parts or accessories shop.

G-Forces’ analysis indicates that only 20 per cent of dealers in the top 100 have an online shop, compared with just 11 per cent of those ranked 101 to 200. The company says dealers can use ecommerce software to boost profits, transform their parts department into a 24/7 sales operation, and pull in customers from well beyond conventional territorial boundaries.

Franchised dealerships with online shops report that they attract significant extra parts income from independent garages, as well as from consumers. In addition, visits to these dealers’ websites are also generating significantly greater volumes of telephone and walk-in sales enquiries – in the instance of one G-Forces customer, enquiries have quadrupled.

G-Forces is a leading player in the provision of ecommerce solutions to UK dealers – of the 31 in the top 200 that do have an online shop, nine are currently supplied by G-Forces.

“Parts and accessories sales can be one of the most lucrative profit centres for retailers, and yet UK dealers of all sizes – from major groups to solus independents – are failing to implement basic ecommerce platforms that would allow them to maximise online income,” comments Tim Smith, Commercial Director at G-Forces. “And it’s not just about increasing parts sales. Our customers have found that an engaging ecommerce site can facilitate cross-selling, for example by generating leads for repair work when a customer enquires about purchasing parts online.”

He continues, “Vehicle retailers must create ecommerce infrastructures that offer the convenience, immediacy and presentational standards expected by the fast-growing volume of consumers now researching and transacting the majority of their purchases online. Dealers should ensure that their online presence – their ‘digital dealership’ – is not just geared-up to market new and used cars, but also equipped to sell parts and accessories direct. They must wake up to the fact that they can no longer rely solely on face-to-face customer contact to maintain parts income.”

G-Forces’ own ecommerce solution, Tiger Commerce, costs from just 17.99 per month. Dealers can take out the Tiger Pro package at 249.99 per month for 12 months, which includes design, setup and support services.

“Many of the UK’s leading dealers have proved that using our ecommerce software is simple, cost-effective and leads to substantial increases in turnover. Some now generate a significant proportion of their revenue through carefully developed online stores, and have taken on additional staff to cope with the increased demand,” concludes Smith.