Online car marketplace heycar marks its first birthday by revealing that in the space of just 12 months it is now driving £40million-worth of sales a month to its dealer partners.
Despite the interruption caused by the Covid pandemic, heycar’s digital-first model has delivered consistent value and a pipeline of customers to the 3,700 dealerships signed up to the platform.
Its programme of agile product innovation has pressed fast forward on new ways for dealers and customers to engage digitally, and it’s clear from the continued growth trajectory that its audiences are embracing the changing experience.
It was on August 14, 2019 that heycar launched to the UK market, backed by Volkswagen and Daimler, which had established the brand in Germany three years previously.
Landing in a crowded sector, 12 months ago heycar set out to drive greater trust and transparency in the automotive industry for customers, dealers and OEMs – and with more than 150,000 cars now listed on the site and 20million website visits since launch, it has been quick to establish itself as a serious player.
CEO Mat Moakes says: “Our focus in our first year has been on gaining scale, showing that we’re different and setting out our commitment to supporting the industry on its digital journey.
“We take immense pride in having become a truly meaningful source of lead generation for our partners in just twelve months.
“It’s the result of our smart approach to driving rapid growth and the advantages we can leverage as a result of our shareholders.
“And it’s only the beginning: We’re laser-focussed on optimising our proposition and experience for both customers and dealers, getting deeper into the buying journey, to provide the shot of adrenaline this sector is crying out for.”
Mat leads a team of 68 who – pre-pandemic – worked out of offices in Kings Cross, London. The steep growth of the business has been such that 18 new starters have been recruited in lockdown.
Launching with a bang last August, a multi-million pound TV and advertising campaign helped to spread awareness of heycar, and investment in brand growth has continued into 2020. This has seen a brand refresh, new functionality and products and, as the brand moves into its second year, a new TV ad creative – shot in lockdown – will air, backed by £5.5million of media investment in above the line channels.
Mat continues: “Other online listings businesses are just digital versions of newspaper ads. That’s not heycar. We have features and products that improve the experience whether you’re a dealer or a consumer, the latest of which includes our worry-free money back guarantee, and our new Concierge service which helps car buyers take the stress and inconvenience out of car ownership.
“The investment we are putting into an above the line campaign at a time of great challenge across the sector is testament to our confidence in the strong continued potential for heycar, and our intent to create a meaningful and nationally recognised brand.”
To give its customers further control of the online car-buying journey heycar has adopted a partnership strategy that has seen it team up with automotive technology supplier SilverBullet.
It allows customers to complete their part-exchange and finance arrangements from the comfort of their own home.
More high profile partnerships are coming before the end of 2020 with Mat and his team in final-stage discussions with household names in finance, manufacturing and other associated brands – that promise to maintain the steep growth seen to date.
Mat continues “We knew that from the outset we’d have to think differently about how we build rapid scale for the immediate and long term.
Innovative thinking has allowed heycar to compliment its long-term brand building strategy with a smart and sustainable approach to growth. This has seen it leverage acquisitions such as HonestJohn.co.uk while at the same time embark on a scalable partnership strategy that aligns it with some of the biggest names in the industry.
“As we approach our first year we’ve shown we can drive quality customer leads at attractive volumes to our dealer audience. So as car-buyers become more familiar with the brand and come to us for an all-round better car-buying experience we expect to end 2020 as a key player in the industry.
“Engagement and feedback from the industry is going from strength to strength and our dealer network continues to grow, providing car-buyers with an extensive offering of high quality stock to choose from.
“Dealers are recognising the benefits of another lead generation provider in the market and have been impressed in how helpful our finance and e-commerce partnerships are in attracting customers.
“But they can be a cynical bunch, who need a bit of convincing. We can only cement our position as a genuine industry player by being true to our word and delivering the returns that move the dial for them.
“And that’s what we intend to do.”