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AM Awards 2016 citation - Best Manufacturer Digital Innovation - BMW Retail Online

Kevin Davidson, retailer development director at BMW Group UK, collects the award for Best Manufacturer Digital Innovation from Jeremy Bennett, head of digital, AM

BMW Group UK broke new ground when it took the full car-buying process online earlier this year.

Following a seven-month pilot scheme that ran from April last year, the German manufacturer rolled out its BMW Retail Online solution, which allows customers to configure a car, search available stock in dealerships, set up finance and finalise a deal.

The site even facilitates part-exchanges.

Established in light of research showing that many car buyers average just 1.3 dealer visits before making a purchase, the site aims to take advantage of the growing trend for home research via the internet – with 97% now carrying out research online.

A BMW Group UK spokesman said: “Customers like to collect information and decide on their own how they want to get in touch with a brand and via which channel they purchase products.”

BMW Retail Online is divided into three clear areas: the first is a public area allowing customers to select and configure a car; the next will attempt to source available cars within UK retailers and offer finance options; and the third, private area of the site is where a sale can be finalised and the contract closed.

Live chat is employed to guide customers through their purchase.

The new site has also established  a virtual showroom affiliated to each dealer, which BMW Group UK claims will lead to “additional showroom visits”.

The judges said: “BMW’s Retail Online initiative is offering choice to the consumer, with fulfilment still through a dealer. This concept represents a part of the future.”



Vauxhall OnStar


Previous winners

2015 Kia Motors (UK) – Kia Carens ‘Re-view Mirror’ 

2014 Kia Motors UK – customer reviews (Reevoo)

AM Awards 2016 pictures

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