Taking a note from Tesla’s controversial dealer playbook, BMW recently launched a new online sales site allowing potential customers to purchase the German company’s offerings online. The new online service — which has been dubbed “Retail Online” — allows customers access to all aspects of the purchase process. Meaning, users can: choose configuration options online; set up a test drive; set up financing; and also get information on the trade-in value of currently owned vehicles.
The site also provides access to live chat support, of course. The initial launch is in the UK market. Reportedly, 95% of BMW’s hot-selling i-brand dealers in the region are already involved.
“We are the first car manufacturer to offer a digital sales solution for the entire product range and the full end-to-end buying or leasing process online. Now, the customer can do it all from the comfort of their home,” stated Ian Robertson, Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing. “The integration of the BMW Genius via live chat and retailer messaging functions where the customer is able to get personalised support in real time, makes this system unique and a new benchmark for the automotive industry.”
Interesting move. Considering how widely maligned the current car purchase experience is (most especially in the US), I’m expecting more and more companies to begin a slow move towards the direct purchase paradigm. Pushback from dealerships seems likely, though, so who knows what’ll happen exactly, or over what kind of time frame. I’m skeptical that dealership hegemony can survive over the longer term, though.
Originally published by EV Obsession.