Dealers planning on offering customers a click-and-collect service should heed government advice on how to do it safely.
As reported by Car Dealer Magazine earlier today, the decision to offer a click-and-collect style pick-up solution to remote car sales is down to individual dealers.
There is still not a definitive answer as to whether it is strictly allowed under the rules – with even legal experts from the same company, Lawgistics, unable to agree on whether dealers can, or cannot, do it.
However, with the advice that it is up to the individual dealers to decide – based on their own legal advice – many dealers will now start offering a click-and-collect style service to customers.
One boss of a large independent business told Car Dealer: ‘We can’t see how it is any different to what B&Q and others are doing – with the right social distancing measures it can be done safely and far more efficiently than home deliveries.
‘We have big showrooms and by offering customers the chance to come in on an appointment based set-up we can manage the risk. We still haven’t decide what to do, though.’
While his point about B&Q is interesting, that retailer is allowed to be open under the rules and click-and-collect for cars should not be confused with an excuse for opening a showroom.
The government has specifically said car showrooms must be closed, so dealers are advised that click-and-collect should be offered outside of the premises or in an alternative area of the dealership, say Lawgistics, if at all.
The rules have been left open to interpretation – and without any official clarification from the bodies that represent the motor trade – there will be a number of dealers who will decide to set up click-and-collect for customers.
While there are possible negative PR implications surrounding that, not to mention a moral argument to observe the lockdown, for many the need to get going again as soon as possible could outweigh any fears of bad press.
Government advice to shops running a pick-up or delivery service during the lockdown could be useful for dealers. This is being used by supermarkets and other retail businesses planning to reopen.
The advice – taken from the government website here – includes:
You should ensure that no orders are taken in person on your premises. You should only take orders online or by telephone and communicate this to customers by clear signage in store and online.
The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone and you should take steps to avoid crowding and minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of two metres between individuals, wherever possible.
What is the advice around collections?
- Where customers are collecting items, the government says, they should have staggered collection times.
- When customers whose orders are ready enter, they should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments, maintaining a safe distance. Where queuing is taking place, you should use queue management systems to maintain a safe distance.
What about advice around deliveries?
- The government says, for retailers or restaurants running a delivery service, you should advise all delivery drivers that no goods or food should be physically handed over to the customer.
- There should instead be a set drop-off point agreed in advance.
- After ringing the doorbell, the driver should maintain a safe distance from the door and oversee the delivery of the goods. The goods should not be left unattended.
- You should introduce a way for customers to be able to notify your business that they are in self-isolation or are unwell in advance of the delivery, in which case these guidelines should be very strictly followed. The driver should not enter the customer’s property.
- To minimise the risk that a customer does not answer the door, sensible steps such as setting an approximate delivery time and gaining a contact number should be taken.
- You should advise drivers to wash their hands using soap and water for 20 seconds as regularly as possible, and drivers should be given hand-sanitiser to be carried at all times and used after each delivery.
- To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues and drivers daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.
While this advice has not been specifically written for car dealers – it is for retail overall – it could be used for those planning home deliveries, or a click and collect service, as guidance.
However, clear handover procedures and sanitisation routines of cars – as demonstrated to Car Dealer Magazine recently by GardX and detailed in this post – are vital and should be well documented.
We have detailed how dealers can safely deliver a car here.
And in this post we give further detailed advice on how to sanitise a car in advance of handover.