Ramping up marketing during lockdown paid dividends for SW Car Supermarket

Time 1 year ago

Peterborough-based SW Car Supermarket sold 85 cars in the first hour of reopening after the restrictions were lifted on June 1, said CEO Anton Khan on Car Dealer Live.

Speaking to James Batchelor on the show, he said: ‘We had that pent-up demand. Inquiries were there beforehand because we had remote teams set up during the lockdown period.

‘We had a vast number of inquiries coming into the business, meaning we had a large order bank, and it’s been really successful.’

Operations manager John Marshall added: ‘The appetite and the demand has always been there. We’ve obviously found ourselves in this unfortunate pandemic, but people’s cars still go wrong in pandemics and people need new cars in pandemics.

‘We’ve found that in the first fortnight of lockdown we were getting a very high level of calls from people, and the opening gambit was that they were a keyworker and their car had gone bang.’

He explained: ‘That put us in a difficult position, as we had to abide by the government guidelines that fortunately we were proactive with being ahead of.

‘We had a very, shall we say, accelerated learning curve with web-developing.

‘We achieved what we needed to on the website in 14 days when it would have realistically taken more like four months.’

Marshall explained that a small team from the business continued to take orders during the lockdown, and that they managed to achieve three times their modest estimate that would see them through.

Talking about this drive to online sales, he said: ‘We were doing a lot of online business anyway. It’s accelerated certain things, it’s pushed us in the right direction, and it’s pushed forward ideas we already had and forced us to accelerate.’

Khan, who started the business 10 years ago and commented that he’d had no real interest in cars before joining the industry, also explained how they wanted to stay in the forefront of people’s minds using social media during lockdown.

‘We’re not going to be in lockdown forever,’ he said. ‘People will come out, people need cars. We assisted key workers heavily during that time.

‘While people were switching their marketing off, we ramped it up. It’s really worked in our favour.’

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Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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