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BMW launches entirely online car buying service

BMW Retail Online on a tablet

BMW customers are now going to be able to choose, spec and buy their car entirely online in under 10 minutes, the manufacturer claims.

It has today launched BMW Retail Online allowing consumers to arrange a test drive if necessary, agree financing options and payment method, and get a trade-in value for their own car before finalising the delivery date.

Every step can also be supported by a BMW Genius or a sales executive at the retailer via live chat or email.

AM100 top-10 dealer group Sytner has been part of a trial of BMW Retail Online.

The move has come in acknowledgement that 97 per cent of buyers research their car purchase online and customers now visit a retailer an average 1.4 times before completing their purchase. This compares to an average of four visits per purchase in 1998. Industry research also indicates that nearly half of all buyers would consider buying online.

Ian Robertson, member of the board for sales and marketing, said: “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. 

"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.”

Though the buying process can all be done online, a level of human interaction is still vital, he said, to provide personal guidance and peace of mind for the customer when required. 

Multi-channel chat options (webchat or email) mirror the in-showroom BMW Genius experience and are offered from 8am to 10pm.

Before being rolled out nationally, BMW Retail Online was trialled with nine UK retailers and proved such a success that 95 per cent of BMW UK retailers have decided to offer this service to their customers.  

Nigel Hurley, Sytner Group BMW Divisional managing director, whose retail outlet took part in the trial, said: “This is great news for retailers. It forms part of our ever more customer-centric focus and makes life easier for the customer. We see this becoming an increasingly important channel in the future.”

There are six key features to BMW Retail Online. 

The online journey starts with the optional tool “Find your BMW”, leading into the vehicle configurator on 

With a click on the “Buy your BMW” button the customer selects a retailer, is shown cars with a faster delivery date and selects their preferred finance method. The customer can then finalise all steps of the purchase with their chosen retailer in the Retailer Online showroom.

The key elements in more detail are:

Find your BMW (Optional needs analyser)
Helps customers find the ideal vehicle for their needs

Four questions to select the right car:
Where do you drive?
How many people ride in your car?
What needs to fit in your boot?
What’s important to you?
Suggests preconfigured cars with options most bought by other customers in the UK.

Genius live-chat
Personal support
Webchat or email

Opening hours from 8am-10pm, seven days a week

Vehicle configuration / check delivery times

Fully configure a car, or get a proposal for a pre-built car with faster availability

Finance offer

Full integration of BMW Financial services
Easy-to-use finance calculator
All national offers are included online

Retailer online showroom
Chat with a sales executive of the selected retailer
Arrange a test drive
Get independent car valuation of your vehicle
Finalise all elements of the purchase

Online credit check
Full online credit check with 90 seconds feedback if auto accepted
Payment of instalment, deposit or full price online or by phone

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  • Kel - 05/12/2015 14:07

    Ref BMW remote sales--will this mark the end of the ludicrous amounts manufacturers demand that dealers spend on their showrooms ?