Online sales ‘could provide lifeline to dealers disrupted by coronavirus’

Time 9:31 am, March 17, 2020

ONLINE sales could be a lifeline to dealers whose business face disruption from coronavirus.

That’s according to iVendi, whose chief executive James Tew said that if consumers were either avoiding unnecessary human contact or confined to their homes, online could still be an effective route to market.

Tew, pictured, said: ‘We’re raising this subject with all due sensitivity. but in the event that footfall to dealerships falls dramatically, businesses need to find a way to keep functioning as normally as possible. Moving more sales online is a potential solution.

‘There is a potential parallel to the existing situation. We know that when people are sitting at home for extended periods, they shop online. Every year, across Christmas and new year, usage of our platforms increases dramatically.’

But he emphasised: ‘We’re not glibly suggesting that a pandemic is the same as a public holiday. It’s not. But there are lessons to draw. People with money to spend may well want to shop for a car, van or motorcycle at the most unlikely times.’

Tew said that the first step for the industry over the next few days was to maximise the online presence of each dealership but there was also a need to consider how the fulfilment side would work.

‘Effectively, you need to be able to allow the customer to choose and finance their car online as a minimum. Then you have to look at which aspects of the deal can be handled remotely that are currently undertaken on a human level. For example, can you put a process in place where someone can show you their part-exchange via their mobile phone – for example, through a Facetime call?’

He added he was confident that the online motor retail technology specialist would continue operating on a business-as-usual basis while the coronavirus situation followed its course, as its entire team could work from home.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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