Dealers halt market decline

Franchised dealers appear to have halted the decline in their share of the £21.1 billion a year servicing and repair market at the expense of independent workshops and garages, according to MyCarNeedsA.com.

Historically, independent workshops and garages have enjoyed the lion’s share of aftersales work, but with a much younger car parc and extended warranties, their share has been eroded. According to MyCarNeedsA.com, garages need to work harder to attract motorists, in a highly competitive market that is shrinking. Forecasts show that service and repair volumes are set to decline by 11% by 2019.

Scott Hamilton, managing director of MyCarNeedsA.com commented, ‘Garages need to strengthen their reputation and they can do this by having a strong presence online where most potential customers will find them. Recent research from gmbh, Trend Tracker’s partner in Germany shows that 60-70% of the motorists they surveyed expect to use an online comparison site for car repairs in the near future.

‘Given customers likelihood to use on-line services when choosing a service provider, it is important that businesses make the best of their on-line presence. Websites, SEO, PPC, Blogging and Social Media can all be used to various levels to increase awareness to customers and it is important to know how best to use which medium to suit the business and prospective customers.’

Highlighting social media as a potential communication channel, Scott pointed at how garages also need to respond to consumers round the clock. ‘We have seen a surge in motorists visiting our site in the evenings – almost a third (31.5%) of visitors to MyCarNeedsA.com click on or after 5pm. The busiest day being Monday, up until around 8pm, when traditionally workshops are closed for business. Increasingly, consumers are surfing the net at all times of the day and night and are happy to interact with garages in their leisure time. If garages want to capitalise on potential online leads, then they need to engage with consumers and convert them, 24/7.’