Buyers beyond borders: Interstate enquiries analysis

The 2018 digital buyer is prepared to travel great distances or purchase sight unseen – but just how far and where?

It’s no secret that buyers are more discerning than ever before and the latest carsales insights uncover the true extent they’re prepared to go to secure their ideal set of wheels.

One of the effects of digitising much of the search process is that buyers are now more willing to travel great distances to visit a dealership that offered a better price, value for money or had the perfect purchase option in stock.

In 2017, purchase intenders surveyed in The Journey to Vehicle Ownership research whitepaper revealed that they would be happy to travel up to 70 km to visit a dealership.

This evolution in buyer behaviour and the blurring of market areas opens up significant selling opportunities and has implications for the way dealerships and OEMs best market and list their stock.

Exploring past local areas

The median distance travelled by buyers to dealerships for new and used vehicles between $20,000–$100,000, is now 44.26km, as revealed by the latest carsales data. Tellingly, the more expensive the vehicle, the greater the buyer’s willingness to travel. The median distance travelled for vehicles with a sticker price in excess of $100,000 was more than 3x greater than those enquiring on vehicles in the $20,000– $30,000 price band.

Extending the search interstate

Australian car dealerships can now consider themselves national businesses, as it’s clear that even state borders don’t intimidate buyers from hunting down the car they want.

carsales data between April 2017–March 2018 uncovered that 18.75% of enquiries placed on dealership stock items priced between $20,000–$100,000, were placed by buyers in a different state or territory.

Again, higher price bands experienced a higher percentage of interstate enquiries. In New South Wales and Victoria, over 40% of enquiries from buyers on vehicles priced $100,000-plus were placed on interstate vehicles. In Queensland and Western Australia, over 60% of enquiries in this price band were placed on interstate vehicles, while over 80% was recorded in South Australia. In Tasmania, over 95% of enquiries in this price band were placed on vehicles located on the mainland, with Victoria receiving more than 35% of these enquiries.

Select a state and price band below to view the analysis:

Six tips to maximise conversion of interstate enquiries

1. Professional photos and insightful comments

Professional photography and video help buyers make a more confident enquiry or purchase decision, drawing attention to key details about your stock item that differentiate it from other listings. Ensure that you complement your professional photography with comments that highlight services that facilitate an interstate purchase, such as Australia wide trade-ins and delivery.

2. Certified Pre-Owned stock

Buyers that understand the benefits of Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) stock items have a higher perception of dealerships that offer these vehicles for sale.1 As a consequence, buyers may be more comfortable in purchasing their next vehicle sight unseen if it is marked as CPO. CPO stock items can be quickly activated in AutoGate. Contact your Performance Manager for more information.

3. Detailed inspection report

With a credible inspection report, interstate buyers can make an informed decision to purchase a vehicle safe in the knowledge that it has been given the all-clear by an independent specialist mechanic.

4. Transparent history report

Vehicle history reports tick the boxes that concern buyers including a written off check, stolen check, warranty check, odometer check and more. With a comprehensive history report, buyers can be assured about the true origins of the vehicle.

5. Add extended warranty

Stock listed with a warranty can appear as a more trustworthy and easier purchase proposition, as buyers can feel greater peace of mind knowing they are protected from mechanical breakdown for a specified time. Adding a warranty to your stock items also has reputational benefits by clearly communicating your confidence in the quality and reliability of your stock.

6. Timely customer contact

Enquiries convert when buyers are contacted quickly and equipped with everything they need to make an informed purchase decision. 34.1% of enquiries on carsales converted to sale at the dealership – on the actual vehicle or another with the same dealership – within 14 days, underlining the importance of identifying customer needs and providing timely service.

This analysis originally appeared in Auto Market Watch - Edition 12. For more actionable insights, dive into the issue below or download a copy: