Resellers are told to expect an increase in online sales in the new year as cases of the Omicron variant continue to increase.
Experts at auto finance company iVendi say the impact of the variant means consumer behavior is likely to change.
They believe this will lead to an increase in the number of customers online, rather than risking physical entry into showrooms.
It is believed that the push will happen regardless of whether or not the country returns to lockdown, meaning dealers need to be prepared regardless.
Darren Sinclair, CCO of iVendi, said: “If the virus spreads as quickly as experts fear, chances are it will affect how many contacts people want with others as they approach. the new Year.
“Whether we see an official lockdown or not can be a moot point, as individuals will already change their behavior, which we have seen at other times in the pandemic when the level of risk is perceived to be high.
“The likely outcome of this for car, truck and motorcycle dealerships is that they will see a shift to online sales as more and more people choose to purchase their cars remotely.
“While we wouldn’t expect to see something like the digital switchover to happen under full foreclosure conditions, the change could be very dramatic and dealers should now think about how to meet this potential demand.”
Since the start of the pandemic, dealers have had to adapt the way they sell cars in order to survive.
The majority of businesses now offer significantly improved online services, which means the upcoming change shouldn’t cause too many problems.
“The pandemic has forced almost all dealers to take digital commerce seriously,” Sinclair added.
“Many have undertaken a massive overhaul, using new approaches and new technologies. We have seen significant improvements in two key areas.
“First, the range of online facilities provided by dealerships has grown, offering more the ability to reserve vehicles, manage parts exchanges, provide a full auto financing option up to a final sale and more.
“Second, the customer journey itself has become much more flexible. The online process no longer forces everyone to follow the same path, to take the same steps.
A good example is our Digital Deal tool which allows a dealership to build an individualized proposition in less than a minute and then send it to the customer. Introduced at the start of the pandemic, it has proven to be extremely effective.
“All of these developments suggest that most dealers will be able to successfully manage the business conditions of early 2021, regardless of the ways Omicron affects consumer behavior.
“However, it is not too late for those who do not yet have the capacity to sell a car online, our proven technology can be deployed quickly, easily and affordably. “