I WOULD argue that’s a very valid question. There has been plenty of debate over the past few weeks as to whether or not dealers should extend their opening hours further into the evening to accommodate late-night buyers.
The theory goes that if dealerships were to stay open until, say, midnight, customers would have the flexibility to browse and buy cars whenever it suits them.
If the idea takes off, it might be the case that showrooms find themselves having to recruit overnight sales teams to help generate those crucial leads and ultimately make more sales.
Let’s look at it this way: isn’t it quite a frustration (and I know I’m not the only one who thinks this) that when you need to make a trip to the bank, by the time you manage to get there, it’s shut.
And it’s not just banks; it’s Post Offices, High Street stores, libraries and more. That’s right, they all stick to the standard 9.00am to 5.30pm timeframe.
The issue is sure to be something we’ll hear more of in the future and customers are increasingly showing interest in dealerships extending their trading times.
On Twitter, there has been a debate that has raged for weeks – and perhaps worryingly, there are signs that the UK could be behind the times when it comes to shutting up shop and going home for the day.
Car Dealer’s MD, James Baggott, spotted a dealership sign in Los Angeles that said: ‘We’re open until midnight’ – but will we ever see that in the UK?
On the flip side however, the automotive industry does seem to be becoming a little more flexible. Some dealerships do, after all, open until 7pm or 8pm on certain nights of the week.
And although not quite the same as a consumer-facing showroom, BCA recently launched its own late-night service – BCA 5 to 9.
A first in its sector, the service consists of an overnight digital sales programme for evening buyers and features vehicles selected daily from the company’s 19 remarketing centres.
These vehicles are offered exclusively in an overnight online sale with a simple ‘click to buy’ process, giving all buyers the opportunity to review and buy vehicles at a time that suits them.
We know from talking to dealers that the evenings are when their websites get the most hits – so it’s possible that if the dealership doors were open, there would be more physical footfall too. In the world we live in, the consumer is king and if longer opening hours are what the customers want, then surely that’s what they should get.
Do you think dealerships should stay open until midnight? Tweet us your thoughts on @cardealermag
Here’s what Twitter thinks:
Saw a sign at a dealership in LA last night: ‘We’re open until midnight’. How would that go down with customers in UK? And staff?
— James Baggott (@CarDealerEd) August 29, 2013
@CarDealerEd customers may take to it, esp for new launches etc…staff not so much! It’s LA: a microcosm where trends start so who knows.
— Ashley Proniewicz (@ashpron) August 29, 2013
— Paul Stewart (@pas7272) August 29, 2013
— jonnypubslfc (@jonnypubs) August 29, 2013