A customer visited a dealership an average of six times in the UK before completing a purchase in 1994. That number dropped to 1.2 visits in 2012 and it’s still falling, a successful retailer says.
“I think it is possible that at some point in the future we may go down to just 0.7 to 0.8 visits per dealership,” said Steve Penman, dealer principal at Elms Cambridge BMW in Cambourne, England.
When ask why this is happening Penman said: “Because faithful customers, people who have already owned three or four generations of a 3 series or 5 series, will complete their entire sales process electronically, with the new car delivered to the office or house.”
Despite this big change Penman’s employer is not considering any dealership closures. The Elms Group is part of the family-owned Bedfordia Automobile, which operates three BMW and Mini dealerships about 100km north of London. The trio of stores accounted for 1,700 new car sales and 1,400 used car sales last year.
The company opened a state-of-the-art 9 million pound (about 11.4 million euro) new dealership in Cambourne in 2011.