Auto Trader’s Deal Builder trial extends to all authorised used car retailers

By Staff
7 Min Read

Auto Trader has made its Deal Builder omnichannel solution available to all FCA-authorised used car retailers to trial.

It follows a successful beta testing phase during which retailers reported more than double the conversion rate of traditional enquiries as well as a significant reduction in haggling and time spent on admin, freeing up front-line colleagues to focus on driving even more sales.

Deal Builder has been created to help all retailers, regardless of size, to meet the growing demand for omnichannel, enabling businesses to offer a seamless online buying journey via their Auto Trader adverts.

Consumers have the option to add a part-exchange, complete a finance application and choose their handover preference before completing a reservation for the vehicle. The car buyer can then inspect, test drive and finalise their purchase on the forecourt if desired.

Highlighting the unprecedented change in consumer preferences, Auto Trader research shows that 70% of car buyers, rising to nine in 10 of those aged under 34, now want to complete most of the necessary car buying ‘jobs’ digitally.

While many buyers are already completing some of these tasks online or have stated a desire to do so, 95% still want some kind of physical experience with a separate Auto Trader study showing that consumers switch between online and offline at different parts of the buying journey.

During the 12-month closed beta trial, Auto Trader worked with over 1,000 retailers, which listed more than 40,000 vehicles available to reserve online, to refine the Deal Builder journey, as well as enhance the performance and experience.

This first trial phase produced some exceptional results, not least a dramatic increase in conversion rates; with consumers already completing more of the necessary car buying ‘jobs’ online, the ‘deals’ built through the solution represent a much higher purchase intent than traditional enquiries.

In fact, during the trial, deals typically converted around twice the rate of enquiries, with the top performing retailers reporting conversion rates of more than 80%. 

Commenting on the impact Deal Builder had on conversion, Craig Walker, managing director, Culloden Cars, said: “Deal Builder has increased our conversion and has helped us reach new customers that we may not have had before. Overall, the customers are more engaged which has certainly helped us.”

Ryan Prince, director at Motors Today who also took part in the trial and commented that “With Deal Builder, we’ve done deals with absolutely no contact over the phone whatsoever. And, because customers can do it seamlessly and in their own time, we’ve had deals through that we may not have previously.”

Retailers on the trial found that nearly half (45%) of all deals were generated outside of normal trading hours.

Being able to stay open for business all-day, every day, was something Niaz Kanji, general manager at SR Motors, valued. 

“We’ve started to get reservations coming in after hours, which has made it as if we have a 24-hour forecourt, which has been really good for us. We wake up the morning and we’ve sold a couple of cars, which has been absolutely fantastic. It’s really given us the confidence to grow our business.”

Auto Trader said a key benefit of enabling consumers to complete large parts of the retailing experience online in their own time and pace, is a significant reduction in necessary admin and time required to support a potential buyer during the early stages of their journey. This was the experience of three quarters (74%) of the retailers on the trial, who said it enabled them to focus more time on what really matters.

Bilal Ahmed Asim, director at ST Motor Group commented on the impact of Deal Builder on their operational efficiency, saying: “Deal Builder does all that legwork for us like taking in a part exchange or completing finance which saves us 2-3 hours on every deal and means we can spend more time focusing on the customer service.”

Similarly, its convenience and flexibility, which enables consumers to build a bespoke deal on their terms before visiting the forecourt, combined with the added transparency of Auto Trader’s trusted Price Indicators, meant far fewer consumers felt the need to haggle on price. Nearly, three in five (57%) retailers on the trial reported less haggling with deals made through Deal Builder.  

Commenting, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s chief product oOfficer, said: “The automotive industry is going through a period of unprecedented change. But whilst automotive retail is fast evolving, there’s no doubt that omnichannel is the future, where the role of the retailer is more important than ever. For most people buying a car is the second biggest purchase they’ll make, and the support and the physical experience that only a retailer can provide remains essential.

“As well as the rapid growth in omnichannel, retailers face a dramatic shift to electric vehicles and changes in traditional retailing models. With so much change – research shows consumers are keen for a new way of car buying and many retailers across the UK are already making these changes – all retailers must evolve. We are here to help and Deal Builder highlights our unwavering commitment to ensuring no retailer is left behind. This is an exciting time as we work with our retailer partners to redefine UK automotive retailing to deliver a new  car buying experience.”


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