Is there going to be a market for brick-and-mortar showrooms when online retailing takes over? Digital revolution is undeniable and car dealers embrace the change receptively. However, C-level executives suggest that traditional showrooms are rather in for a drastic rebranding exercise than pure extinction.
Based on 907 respondents, the KPMG’s Global Automotive Executive Survey 2018 reports that 20% to 50% of the brick-and-mortar showrooms could disappear in just seven years.
In response to those figures, James Hind, the chief executive of Carwow commented that: “There is definitely a place for dealerships in the future, even if the forecourts will look a little different to today. A car is a high value purchase and many buyers still want to be able to touch, see, drive a new car before they commit. What has changed is that rather than visit lots of showrooms, they do their research on the car they want to buy, and the dealer they want to buy from, then most choose to visit just one showroom as a last confirmation that they’re making the right choice for them”.
Mark Zavagno, the head of digital operations at Stoneacre Motor Group, was of a similar opinion. He said: “I think one of the hopes for dealers like ourselves is that the majority of customers still want to feel a vehicle, touch a vehicle, experience the vehicle before they purchase it. Currently only 8% of customers are happy to buy a car having never touched it”.
A personal purchasing experience starts and finishes with a dealer
Making the car buying process entirely virtual is fiendishly difficult, time and resource exasperating. James Tew, chief executive at iVendi points out that continuous progress into the online space is much needed to meet customer expectations, however the brick-and-mortar showrooms should not be left uncared for.
James’s take on things is the that personal touch with the dealer will remain invaluable to customer experience and every successful car buying transaction: “The role of the dealer is still part and parcel of the transaction and any technical solution will have to cater for all these scenarios and many more. The vast majority of car sales will see consumers utilizing online and visiting the showroom simply because buying a car is such a complex and highly involved process”.
The sales process needs work, serious work
Furthermore, James Tew added that: “Consumers want to see the vehicle, but the process is very inconvenient for them and that needs to be addressed. Online is aiding the sales process and we see its role continuing and developing. We need to look at each component and how it can be digitized”.
This is exactly the sort of Mantra that we lead, here at Buzz2Get. Our work focuses on improving dealer’s transparency, convenience and making the experience of the customer’s buying process as easy and seamless as possible whilst on the forecourt.
Dealerships focus on getting online, and as a result the pace of improvements at their physical showrooms becomes stagnated. Neglecting to better the physical touch points that customers want to use and trust can leave dealerships vulnerable to competition.
Does your brick-and-mortar showroom need a makeover? Or are you going to let your biggest customer asset become a rusty pile of junk.