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Car dealers 'need to make it easier for consumers to buy their products'

2 Motoring.co.uk's Terry Hogan

One in four consumers shops online because of price, but three quarters choose to do it because of the convenience. However, motor retail is failing to provide the convenience they expect, both online and at physical locations.

“Every consumer has a choice. If you don’t make it easy for the consumer, they can go elsewhere. Retailers are great at giving the consumer what they want, when they want it.

“Dealers hide their prices and services, and allow other businesses to eat their lunch,” said Terry Hogan, managing director, Motoring.co.uk.

O2, Delphi and Vodafone are already offering on-board diagnostics tools to the independent aftermarket elsewhere in Europe.

Some carmakers, such as Toyota and BMW, have launched their own Ebay shops and dealers advertise car parts online.

However, Hogan warned that promising delivery within three days is well below par when other e-commerce firms can get their wares to consumers within 24 hours, or even the same day.

“Retailers on Ebay offer click and collect. Yet there is this network of Toyota and BMW dealers with the brand above the door, but no option on the BMW and Toyota Ebay stores to get it delivered to the local dealership.”

He cited AO.com and Next.co.uk as examples of superb service. AO.com delivers white goods the next day for free providing they are ordered before 11pm, or the buyer can choose to pay for same-day delivery. At Next, if the order is placed before midnight, the product will be delivered the next day.

Hogan searched online for a car battery. Having found just one at a franchised dealer, the only option was to contact them for further information.

In comparison, a partnership between dealers’ rivals Halfords and Euro Car Parts has enabled the consumer to purchase a wide range of car parts online and 88% of these sales are click and collect.

Halfords is also offering fitting services for a small fee when these customers arrive to collect their light bulbs, batteries and wiper blades.

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