Northern Irish dealer Shelbourne Motors has launched an ecommerce platform to sell cars online.
The retailer has integrated GForces’ NetDirector Auto e-platform to power its online offering, including Sherbourne’s Auto Select used vehicle programme. The dealership runs a multi-franchise site in County Armagh representing Dacia, Nissan, Renault, Kia and Toyota, as well as a hire car branch.
Customers can pick up the buying journey in the showroom, partly online, or fully, including completing finance applications with instant credit decisions.
In addition to an enhanced digital presence, Shelbourne is putting equal prominence on a new £5 million multi-franchise facility at their site in Newry, which will house Kia and Renault franchises.
Ronan Marshall, Shelbourne group marketing manager, said ecommerce is an additional string to the company’s bow, not a replacement for their traditional sales model.
He said: “In the showroom, our customers can engage their senses, and experience everything first-hand.
“There is also a unique social appeal to dealing in-person, and when visiting a state-of-the-art facility such as the one we’re opening in Newry, customers can explore and connect with us in a totally different way to online. The key is to offer the choice.”
Marshall said that for some, a test drive and a showroom visit to see the vehicle will always be a must, but for others the convenience of buying there and then at any time of day or night is the priority.
Paul Stokes, head of online retailing at GForces, believes Shelbourne’s approach shows how ecommerce and traditional sales are not at odds with each other.
He said: “The buying journey, both online and offline, is what is really changing in the industry.
“In either case, offering a user experience that doesn’t offer the consumer flexibility or control is where our industry veers from the norm. Outside of automotive, consumers have complete control over where, when and how they buy, both online and instore."