The retail car industry has been one of the last industries to fully embrace ecommerce, but that is no longer the case.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many businesses that did not traditionally see themselves as ‘online car businesses’ having to embrace digital change – and quickly.
There are very few car dealerships that don’t offer some aspects of ecommerce and at the very least a hybrid solution.
We are starting to see (as happened with other industries) consumers and dealers becoming more comfortable with purchasing and selling a car online, or at least part of the transaction beginning online (e.g. researching or booking a car) and then the deal is finalised in the dealership.
This trend has increased because of covid-19 which had accelerated the move to ecommerce and we are seeing suppliers to the industry offering tools and resources free to help dealers make the transition to ecommerce.
Understanding consumer behaviour online is a key element for car dealers in reaching out to potential customers who are searching online.
To gain some insight into how the market currently sits let’s consider a simple search phrase that a potential customer would key into Google – ‘Buy a car online‘.
‘Buy a car online’ is currently typed into Google approximately 300 times per day, over 9,000 times per month or 100,000 times per year in the UK.
At current prices, it costs approximately £3.50 to purchase a click for this phrase to your car dealer website from Google.
We will look at search volumes on mobile phones, in particular, as the mobile phone audience is by far the biggest audience by device for searching for cars.
Which car dealeer websites rank for ‘Buy a car online’?
The following table is a list of the top 100 websites that rank for the phrase ‘buy a car online’ in Google.
‘Buy a Car Online’ Top 100
|1||1||No Movement||Cazoo||Car Dealer||Cazoo||https://cazoo.co.uk/||Remains at number one|
|2||3||Up||Buy a Car||Car Dealer||https://www.buyacar.co.uk||http://www.buyacar.co.uk/cars/used-cars/475/buying-a-used-car-online|
|4||5||Up||Car Supermarket||Car Dealer||https://www.carsupermarket.com/||https://www.carsupermarket.com/|
|5||7||Down||Bristol Street Motors||Car Dealer||Buy a Car Online with Click2Drive – Bristol Street Motors||http://www.bristolstreet.co.uk/buy-online/|
|7||9||Down||Carwow||Car Buying Comparison Site||carwow | The free, easy way to change your car online||http://www.carwow.co.uk/|
|12||101||The Car Expert||Advice Website||How to buy a car online | Car buying advice | The Car Expert||http://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/how-to-buy-a-car-online/|
|13||58||Down||Parkers||Price Guide||How to buy a new car online | Parkers||How to buy a new car online|
|15||15||Car Store||Car Dealer||Hello, Welcome to Car Store!||http://www.carstore.com/|
|16||11||Up||The AA||Car Rescue||Used Cars for sale | Second hand cars for sale | AA Cars||http://www.theaa.com/used-cars/||Moved up from very low position|
|17||29||Down||What Car||Online Magazine||New Car Deals | Buy cars online with What Car? | What Car?||http://www.whatcar.com/new-car-deals|
|18||101||Auto Village||Car Dealer||Used Car – Search over 400,000 Used Cars for Sale||http://www.autovillage.co.uk/used-car||Dropped from 18 to outside the top 100|
|19||19||The AA||Car Rescue||Used Cars for sale | Second hand cars for sale | AA Cars||http://www.theaa.com/used-cars/|
|20||20||Citizen’s Advice||Advice Guide||Buying a used car||http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/buying-or-repairing-a-car/buying-a-used-car/|
|21||58||Down||Parkers||Price Guide||How to buy a new car online | Parkers||http://www.parkers.co.uk/car-finance/advice/how-to-buy-a-car-online/|
|22||22||Autocar||Online Magazine||How to buy a car during a pandemic | Autocar||http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/features/how-buy-car-during-pandemic|
|23||59||Down||Which Magazine||Advice Guide||Where to buy a car – Which?||http://www.which.co.uk/reviews/new-and-used-cars/article/where-to-buy-a-car||Dropped down to 59 from 23|
|24||24||The Car Sales Company||Car Dealer||Buy Online – The Car Sales Company||http://www.thecarsalescompanybury.co.uk/buy-online/|
|25||25||Toyota||Manufacturer||Buy a Toyota Vehicle Online | Toyota UK||http://www.toyota.co.uk/buy-online|
|26||26||We Buy Any Car||Sell My Car | Buy My Car | webuyanycar.com||http://www.webuyanycar.com/|
|27||27||Popular Mechanics||The 7 Best Sites to Buy and Sell Your Car Online||http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a16593/best-sites-to-sell-your-car-online/|
|28||28||Financial Times||Newspaper||Time to buy a car? Industry hopes for coronavirus silver lining …||http://www.ft.com/content/488d5886-c6af-4e80-a479-36aca26edd1d|
|29||29||Money Savings Expert||Advice Guide||20+ tips for buying a new car||http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/car-finance/buying-new-car/|
|30||30||Auto Coin Cars||Car Dealer||Auto Coin Cars| Buy cars with Bitcoin||http://www.autocoincars.com/|
|31||31||Car Buyer||How can I buy a car during the coronavirus restrictions …||http://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/172470/how-can-i-buy-a-car-during-the-coronavirus-restrictions|
|32||32||Mitsubishi Motors||Manufacturer||Buying A New Car | Mitsubishi Motors||http://www.mitsubishi-motors.co.uk/buy|
|33||33||Mitsubishi Motors||Manufacturer||Mitsubishi Buy Online||http://buy.mitsubishi-motors.co.uk/|
|34||34||Telegraph||Newspaper||How to buy a car online if you don’t want to visit a dealership||http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/advice/buy-car-online-dont-want-visit-dealership/|
|35||35||Chorley Group||Car Dealer||Car Dealer | Lancashire & Wigan | Chorley Group||http://www.chorleygroup.co.uk/buying-online/|
|36||36||John Clark||Car Dealer||Buy Used Cars Online | Specialist Cars Renault Aberdeen||http://www.john-clark.co.uk/renault/buy-online/|
|37||37||Hyundai||Manufacturer||Buy a new Hyundai Car Online on our Click to Buy Platform | Hyundai …||http://clicktobuy.hyundai.co.uk/|
|38||38||Narpo Drive||NARPOdrive | UK car supermarket | used cars for sale||http://www.narpodrive.co.uk/|
|39||39||The Car Sales Company||Car Dealer||Buy Online – The Car Sales Company||http://www.thecarsalescompanybury.co.uk/buy-online/|
|40||40||Peugeot||Manufacturer||How to buy online | PEUGEOT UK||http://www.peugeot.co.uk/buy-online/|
|41||41||We Want Any Car||We Want Any Car: Buy My Car | Sell My Car Fast||http://www.wewantanycar.com/|
|42||42||Digital Trends||The Best Used Car Websites of 2018 | Digital Trends||http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/best-used-car-websites/|
|43||43||Parkland Motors||Car Dealer||Buy your car online – Parkland Motors||http://www.parklandmotors.co.uk/buy-your-car-online.php|
|44||44||Thame Cars||Car Dealer||Used Car Dealer | Thame near Aylesbury | Thame Cars||http://www.thamecars.co.uk/buying-online/|
|45||45||Wizzle||Car Buying Comparison Site||Car Buying | Wizzle||http://www.wizzle.co.uk/car-buying/|
|46||12||Up||Arnold Clark||Car Dealer||Click & Collect | Moving cars closer to you | Arnold Clark||http://www.arnoldclark.com/click-and-collect|
|47||47||Peter Vardy||Car Dealer||Click and Collect Cars, Online Buying Habits | Peter Vardy||http://www.petervardy.com/buy-a-car-online|
|48||48||AM ONline||Online Magazine||27% of UK car buyers would purchase online without a test drive …||http://www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2019/06/27/27-of-uk-car-buyers-would-purchase-online-without-a-test-drive|
|49||49||Digital Trends||The Best Used Car Websites of 2018 | Digital Trends||http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/best-used-car-websites/|
|50||50||Car Dealer Magazine||Online Magazine||Can I still buy a used car during the coronavirus lockdown …||http://cardealermagazine.co.uk/publish/can-still-buy-used-car-coronavirus-lockdown/189569|
|51||51||The Express||Buying new cars: Car sales set to be made online in Amazon …||http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/1182554/buying-new-cars-sales-online-order-car-autotrader|
|52||52||Money Advice Service||Advice Guide||Where to buy a used car – Money Advice Service||http://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/where-to-buy-a-used-car|
|53||53||Auto Trader||Online Magazine||New Cars, Used Cars – Find Cars for Sale and Reviews at Autotrader||http://www.autotrader.com/|
|54||8||Up||Evans Halshaw||Car Dealer||Sell Your Car||http://www.evanshalshaw.com/buy-online/|
|55||55||Popular Mechanics||The 7 Best Sites to Buy and Sell Your Car Online||http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a16593/best-sites-to-sell-your-car-online/|
|56||56||CNBC||How to buy a car without leaving your house during the …||http://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/how-to-buy-a-car-without-leaving-your-house.html|
|57||57||Clive Sutton||Car Dealer||Buy New Car Online UK | Buying Used Cars London – Clive Sutton||http://www.clivesutton.co.uk/services/buy-a-car/|
|58||58||Car Gurus||How to Buy a Car Sight Unseen – CarGurus||http://www.cargurus.co.uk/Cars/articles/how_to_buy_a_car_sight_unseen|
|59||59||Clive Sutton||Car Dealer||Buy New Car Online UK | Buying Used Cars London – Clive Sutton||http://www.clivesutton.co.uk/services/buy-a-car/|
|60||60||Net Imperative||Click and Collect Cars? 27% of Brits would buy car online …||http://www.netimperative.com/2019/07/05/click-and-collect-cars-27-of-brits-would-buy-car-online-without-test-drive/|
|61||61||Auto ebid||Find the Best New Car Deals and UK Discounts||http://www.autoebid.com/|
|62||62||John Clark||Car Dealer||Buy Used Cars Online | Specialist Cars Renault Aberdeen||http://www.john-clark.co.uk/renault/buy-online/|
|63||63||Ecars 247||Find my car – eCars247||http://www.ecars247.com/find-my-car|
|64||64||Car Wizzle||Car Buying Comparison Site||Car Buying | Wizzle||http://www.wizzle.co.uk/car-buying/|
|65||65||Car Shop||Car Dealer||https://www.carshop.co.uk/||http://www.carshop.co.uk/|
|66||66||JC Car Centre||Car Dealer||Used cars for sale in Newcastle Upon Tyne & Northumberland: We Buy Cars For More||http://www.jccarcentre.co.uk/|
|67||67||AM Online||Online Magazine||27% of UK car buyers would purchase online without a test drive …||http://www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2019/06/27/27-of-uk-car-buyers-would-purchase-online-without-a-test-drive|
|68||68||British Car Auctions||Car Auction||Buy online – British Car Auctions||http://www.british-car-auctions.co.uk/buy/Useful-information/How-to-buy-online/|
|69||16||Up||Macklin Motors||Car Dealer||Buy Cars Online | Online Car Dealers | Macklin Motors||http://www.macklinmotors.co.uk/buy-online/|
|70||70||Jardine Motors||Car Dealer||Buy Online – Jardine Motors Group||http://www.jardinemotors.co.uk/select/buying-online/|
|71||71||Exchange and Mart||Exchange & Mart: New & Used Cars for Sale Near You||http://www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/|
|72||72||Snows||Buy Online – Car Dealers | Southern England | Snows||http://www.snows.co.uk/buy-online/|
|73||73||Slow it Down||The 10 Best Websites to Buy and Sell Your Car Online||http://www.slowitdown.co.uk/2019/11/14/the-10-best-websites-to-buy-and-sell-your-car-online/|
|74||74||Car Site||Car Dealer||Used Car For Sale | Second Hand Cars | CarSite||http://www.carsite.co.uk/used-car|
|75||75||Buy My Car||Buy My Car | Prestige Car Buyers You Can Trust||http://www.buymycar.com/|
|76||76||Co Part||Car Auction||Copart UK: Salvage Car Auctions & Used Vehicles||http://www.copart.co.uk/|
|77||77||Auto Web||Web Design||Buy Cheap Second Hand Cars, For Sale on Autoweb.co.uk||http://www.autoweb.co.uk/|
|78||78||Croyland Car Megastore||Used Car Dealer | Rushden, Northampton | Croyland Car Megastore||http://www.croylandcarmegastore.co.uk/buying-online/|
|79||79||Kia||Manufacturer||Kia Motors India | Buy Kia Cars Online||http://www.kia.com/in/buy/how-it-works.html|
|80||80||Up||Cars||Digital Marketplace||New Cars, Used Cars, Trucks For Sale, Auto Reviews | Cars.com||http://www.cars.com/||The trend is from 80 to a high of 24|
|81||81||eCars 247||Instant finance – eCars247||http://www.ecars247.com/finance|
|82||82||Desperate Seller||Cheap Cars For Sale | Buy Recently Reduced Cars | Desperate Seller||http://www.desperateseller.co.uk/cheap-cars|
|83||83||Motoring Search||One in 10 now buy a used car without seeing it first – Motoring Research||http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/buy-used-car-without-seeing/|
|84||84||Wired||Tech Magazine||Hyundai’s Click To Buy lets you purchase a new car on your phone in less than five minutes||http://www.wired.co.uk/article/hyundai-click-to-buy|
|85||85||ASM Autos||Buy My Car – Online Car Buyers | ASM Auto Recycling||http://www.asm-autos.co.uk/buy-my-vehicle/buy-my-car/|
|86||86||CNBC||How to buy a car without leaving your house during the …||http://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/how-to-buy-a-car-without-leaving-your-house.html|
|87||87||Alphabet||Buying your car – Alphabet||http://www.alphabet.com/en-gb/buying-your-car|
|88||88||Pershore||Car Dealer||Buying Online | Pershore Motor Group||http://www.pershoremotorgroup.co.uk/buy-online/|
|89||89||Japanese||TCV | Japanese best quality online used cars marketplace||http://www.tc-v.com/|
|90||90||Car Max||CarMax – Browse used cars and new cars online||http://www.carmax.com/|
|91||91||We Buy Super Cars||http://webuysupercars.com/||http://webuysupercars.com/|
|92||92||Hyundai||Tech Magazine||Hyundai’s Click To Buy lets you purchase a new car on your phone in less than five minutes||http://www.wired.co.uk/article/hyundai-click-to-buy|
|93||93||Honest John||How to buy a new or used car | Honest John||http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/how-to-buy-a-new-or-used-car/|
|94||94||We buy cars for more||WEBUYCARSFORMORE – sell your car in the North East today!||http://www.webuycarsformore.com/|
|95||95||Unison Drive||Unison Drive | UK car supermarket | used cars for sale||http://www.unisondrive.org.uk/|
|96||96||Vroom||Buy, Sell or Trade-In Pre-Owned Vehicles Online||http://www.vroom.com/|
|97||97||Auto Rola||Car Auction||Online car auction – buy and sell cars||http://www.autorola.co.uk/|
|98||98||Alphabet||Buying your car – Alphabet||http://www.alphabet.com/en-gb/buying-your-car|
|99||99||Bloomberg||Newspaper||Americans Return to Car Dealers, Thwarting … – Bloomberg||http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-12/buying-a-car-online-is-easier-after-coronavirus-triggered-changes|
|100||100||Manchester Evening News||Newspaper||How to choose your dream car online, purchase it, and drive …||http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/special-features/car-sales-company-bury-finance-17769536|
|101||2||Up||Heycar||Car Marketplace||Find a car online | 1000s of cars for sale from trusted dealers||https://heycar.co.uk/|
|103||4||Up||Autotrader||Car Marketplace||Auto Trader UK – New and Used Cars For Sale||https://www.autotrader.co.uk/|
|104||6||No Movement||Cinch||Car Marketplace||Cars Without The Faff – cinch||https://www.cinch.co.uk/|
|105||10||Up||Motors.co.uk||Car Marketplace||Motors.co.uk – buy and sell nearly new & used cars simply||https://www.motors.co.uk/|
|106||13||Up||Carvago||Car Marketplace||Carvago.com | Online service – buying and selling used cars||https://carvago.com/|
|107||14||Up||Jardine Motors||Car Dealer||8 Essential Tips for Buying a Car Online – Jardine Motors Group||http://news.jardinemotors.co.uk/buying-tips/8-essential-tips-for-buying-a-car-online|
|108||17||Choose My Car||Cheap Car Finance Deals – Find & Compare Used Cars Online||http://www.choosemycar.com/|
We can see that there is a great deal of information about buying a car online available.
Overview of the list
Few on the list could be described as ‘traditional car dealers’ and only one Bristol Street Motors is in the coveted top ten.
The most prominent name on the list is the new entrant Cazoo who are looking to capture the nascent e-commerce market and disrupt the industry.
Other new players in the market (e.g. Cinch) have adopted a similar advertising strategy with the emphasis being on ‘easy way to buy a car online’ or ‘cars without the faff’ – but also offering the customer the ability to conduct as much of the transaction online as they feel comfortable with.
Two factors, ecommerce adoption and ease of purchase has allowed new entrants to provide a new offering. It is interesting how many of the top 100 car dealers website’s do not rank well for digital health.
If we look at the top 100 car dealers it is interesting to see their position in this list. The list does not show that many traditional car dealers. This could be because dealer groups target local geographic areas rather than UK wide.
One of the benefits of full ecommerce is that a dealer can sell to anyone in the country.
Traditional geographic markets may in the future be less rigid.
Whilst the move to e-commerce has accelerated it is also significant that in a recent poll of motorists only a fifth have bought a car unseen.
75% of motorists have never bought a car unseen and maintain that they never will in the future.
Top Ten Search Rankings for the phrase 'Buy a Car Online'
A ranking in the position of one achieves a click-through rate that is ten times higher than a ranking position of ten.
The top ten websites % of visitors for the phrase ‘buy a car online’.
The following Pie Chart shows the % of searchers that the top ten websites obtain. As can be seen the first 2 positions will receive more than 50% of all searchers.
If you would like to know more about how to get your car dealership to rank well in Google then get in touch.