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COVID-19 has ‘changed customer behaviour for good’, says Carzam

A Carzam car transporter containing a Mini Cooper S home delivery online sale

The COVID-19 pandemic and series of lockdown restrictions on car showrooms have “changed customer behaviour for good”, according to online retailer Carzam.

But, despite the shift towards digital purchases, the business headed up by Big Motoring World founder and chief executive, Peter Waddell, and backed by former Cox Automotive International president John Bailey, recorded its best month yet after ‘Lockdown 3’ restrictions were lifted.

Carzam launched its online offering in December last year but saw its strongest ever weekly performance after trading recommenced in car showrooms across England and Wales last week.

Carzam chief executive, Kirk O’Callaghan, who joined the new business in February, said: “It’s clear that the pandemic has changed customer behaviour for good.  

“While it’s terrific to see the automotive sector reopen for business and our colleagues in the industry back at work, our sales have also seen a big boost as the country’s economy opens back up. A huge one, in fact, beating all previous weekly volumes.”

Carzam claimed in a statement issued today (April 19) that it is on course to sell more cars in its first year than both Cazoo and Carvana achieved in their first 12 months.

Last week GForces chief commercial officer, Tim Smith, told AM that traditional retailers could emerge as the sector’s leading lights for digital sales – piggy-backing the marketing of their new start-up rivals – if they embrace online retail quickly.

It came as the ecommerce software business claimed the UK car retail sector could save £950m a year in transaction fees through a shift to wholly online sales.

It is a sentiment which echoes that of Zeus Capital analyst, Mike Allen, who told AM that the positive trajectory of share prices in Pendragon, Vertu and other PLCs will continue as investors continue to size-up Cazoo’s recent £5bn market valuation alongside established car retail groups delivering a similar online retail service and greater sales volumes.

Carzam highlighted the findings of the recent Auto Trader Insight Report, which suggested around 41% of today’s buyers expect to purchase their next car online, while 61% like the idea of it and would consider purchasing their next car online.

O’Callaghan said: “At Carzam, the customer experience is at the heart of everything we do.

“Backed up by our commitment to operational excellence and unrivalled automotive industry expertise, we’re perfectly placed to thrive against a changed and continually evolving used car sales landscape.”

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