New figures show that Amazon is now the fifth largest retailer in the UK, accounting for £4 in every £100 spent in retail last year. Amazon’s online sales growth outperformed all other online sales in the UK, growing 22.5% compared to the UK average of 8.4%, in 2017. It is estimated that Amazon accounted for 33.5% of all online spend in 2017, rising from 29.6% in 2016.
The unstoppable juggernaut continues to steamroll the online sector and although they could pose a threat to some car dealers if they were to enter the UK market, there is plenty to admire and borrow from the e-commerce giant.
From their seamless search functionality, use of video content, one-click buying processes and their desire to provide a positive customer experience before, during and after sales, the Amazon model is the yardstick by which all other retailers are now being measured. Convenience is king and the modern retail environment that most customers are accustomed to needs to be embraced by car dealers.
Once a customer has found a car online, many of them still want to kick the tyres before making a financial commitment.
If a dealer can’t supply a car with the right finance package quickly, they will lose them to a competitor. In a fragmented industry where car buyers are often looking for finance and then going off to source their car online, or vice versa, the current system is not always conducive to efficient sales.
Amazon has created a seamless, fully-integrated retail experience online, for the used-car industry to follow suit.
Finance needs to be integrated into dealership sales operations. Dealers need a modern, tech-informed lender that can boost car finance applications and approvals and help them facilitate the best possible experience for their customers, linking directly into dealer’s websites and their online advertising.
In our day-to-day dealings with some of the UK’s best car dealers the quality of the customer experience is like night and day from a few years ago and you can sense there is a genuine appetite to improve the industry. There is still work to be done, but if dealers can find innovative partners to improve their services and get closer to customers, there is no reason why they can’t retain their autonomy, provide a slick online buying experience, keep their commission and thrive during this digital shift.
Jonny Clayton is CEO of Oodle Car Finance