Manufacturers and franchise dealers could be set to embrace online channels for aftersales as a means to increase both sales and brand awareness.
So says dealer management software specialist Pinewood, which points to today’s news that BMW is set to sell parts via eBay as confirmation of this burgeoning trend.
Managing director Neville Briggs said: "For the vast majority of franchise dealers, the internet has so far been almost entirely about selling used cars, along with some new car offers.
"However, there is evidence that more and more are seeing it as a means to promote their aftersales services, either by promoting online service booking or selling parts and accessories from their own web site or through others.
"Of course, there is also a brand awareness aspect both for manufacturer and dealer too in promoting your products and services through as many channels effective as possible."
In addition to BMW and eBay, Briggs pointed to examples such as franchise dealer servicing offers through Groupon and manufacturers offering centralised online service booking.
He said: "There is no reason why franchise dealer use of online sales channels should be restricted to used and new car sales. Selling aftersales online – from parts and accessories to servicing and service plans – is a natural progression.
"The challenge for dealers and manufacturers, however, is to learn to use these channels to market aftersales effectively. It is a whole new area for them and for their customers too, and it may take a while to identify effective strategies."