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Pandemic fast-tracks switch to used vehicle online sales “by two decades”

Acceptance by trade vendors and buyers to buying and selling digitally has sped up by at least two decades over the pandemic.

Neil Frost, Autorola group operations director

So says Autorola UK as it highlights how the three lockdowns have fast-tracked the switch to online.

Group operations director Neil Frost explained: “As tough as the pandemic has been for the motor industry it has changed behaviours dramatically as for many months since March 2020 dealers and leasing companies have had no choice but to buy and sell used vehicles online. It has speeded up the acceptance of online buying and selling.

“Dealers, OEMs and rental and leasing company vendors have begun to appreciate the convenience of selling online as well as the reduction in transportation costs. They now realise the importance of providing quality imagery and descriptions on each vehicle as these give the buyer confidence to bid and buy without seeing it in the metal.

“Some physical auction companies have also got to grips with selling online and haven’t returned back to driving vehicles through the halls since the pandemic began,” he added.

Autorola is celebrating 15 years of selling used vehicles online this week and during this time the business has gone from selling a few hundred used vehicles digitally each month to selling several thousand.

The business adds that a strong customer service focus remains essential to underpin the online process and buyer/seller confidence.

Despite Autorola’s commitment to online remarketing it employs a large customer service team to engage with its 2,000 active buyers and follow up on any questions or issues. A seller’s money is also held in an escrow account until the new owner is 100% happy with the vehicle, which is another element to instil confidence and trust during the online trading process.

“The customer service team has increased trust throughout the online buying process over the years. It also spells good news for human beings as there are no signs that robots are set to take over selling used cars just yet,” said Frost.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.