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Former Rockar MD joins GForces as head of online retailing

Paul Stokes GForces head of online retailing

Former Rockar managing director Paul Stokes has said that GForces is in a fantastic position to lead an impending "paradigm shift within the automotive industry" after joining the business as its head of online retailing.

Stokes (pictured) was the managing director of the Yorkshire-based multi-franchise dealer Nidd Vale Group and brand director at JCT600 before joining the onmi-channel car rertail start-up, Rockar, in 2014.

Being involved from the early inception of the Rockar business, Stokes was responsible for delivering the operational setup and strategy of various retail stores, which focused on a completely different customer experience than the traditional methods of selling a car.

Now bringing his experience to the GForces operation, Stokes said that there “needs to be recognition that consumer car buying habits have changed – not are changing".

He added: "The traditional retail environment is one now considered very uncomfortable for the consumer, and it’s one they have zero empathy with.

“As long as we continue to steer consumers down a lead generation model, and cling to this draconian sales process that is all about controlling the customer, we’re denying that things have changed.

“If you change that consumer experience, and you create environments that are more engaging, more accommodating, and provide places to browse and shop, you’ll give consumers a completely different experience. They’ll trust retailers and manufacturers more."

Stokes believes that ecommerce “isn’t hype,” and that customers are willing to transact online “more so than ever.”

“We need to make the consumer journey a seamless one that brings together the online and offline experience. An online sales solution can support that, in whatever form you approach it,” said Stokes.

“I try to look at the industry through the eyes of the consumer. I ask myself what I would want my own car-buying experience to feel and be like. GForces is doing that, and we’ll be able to show retailers and manufacturers that we haven’t simply designed a 'tick-box' online solution.

“We’ve designed the solution in recognition of the changing demands of today’s modern consumers.

"One that is simpler, more transparent, fully integrated and surfaces instant finance decisions. We are on the verge of a paradigm shift within the automotive industry, and with products like augmented reality, configurators, and full ecommerce platforms, we are in a fantastic position to lead the charge.”

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