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Right Click: Dealers need to embrace ecommerce

Time 10 years ago


Leading retailers keep certain principals at the core of their business, and chief among these is convenience. If you put any barriers in the way of a consumer making a purchase you are reducing the likelihood of selling to them.

Ecommerce is a technology that is reducing these barriers across other retail sectors with more than 10 per cent of all retail sales now conducted online and its set to grow a further 36 per cent in the next 18 months, according to Internet Retailing.

In the motor retail sector, GForces’ Embracing the Internet survey, carried out in December 2010, recorded only 28 per cent of the Mobil 1 Top 200 dealers had an ecommerce platform where customers could purchase manufacturer parts and accessories via the internet.

However, this study highlights only half of the story. Not only are motor retailers failing to fulfil customer demands for parts and accessories online but the recent Cars Online study by CapGemini suggests consumers want much more. Of the 8,000 participants in the Cars Online survey, more than 41 per cent of car buyers also wanted the ability to buy cars online.

This is driven primarily by price considerations and a desire for a faster, more efficient selling process. Ford Retail, the direct market arm of Ford Motor Company in the UK conducted their own research in July 2010 and found that almost 40 per cent of buyers didn’t even care about a test drive; they just wanted what they saw online with the click of a mouse.

Ford Retail launched an online car shop selling vehicles, but car buyers needed to pick up the phone to complete the deal, so even they stopped short of true ecommerce.

General Motors in the US piloted a new ecommerce venture with eBay in 2009 to sell new and used cars online, in the first month of launch the site received 1.5m views and generated 15,000 leads but it was withdrawn shortly after.


Cars, trucks and auto parts were seen as the largest selling item in the UK on eBay in 2010 and to date 30m people have already downloaded the App allowing customers to browse stock easily, wherever they are.

Carl Scheible, managing director of PayPal UK, said: ‘Online buying is booming even with the current economic uncertainty because shoppers turn to the internet when they are trying to be thrifty.’

Ecommerce has already taken the retail sector by storm. People are ordering pizzas via their mobile and hiring movies to watch online.

Consumers are adapting to the buying process of right here, right now. Consumers now want fast, easy access to those items that typically would take months to purchase in one click. Nearly half of CapGemini respondents want the ability to purchase cars online.

The research, the reviews, the insurance quotes and finance quotes are already available online, all that’s left is being able to buy the car…

by TIM SMITH, GForces.co.uk commercial director

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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