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Complex experience hampers online car buying, Pendragon's digital guru warns

Owen Gill, head of digital transformation at Pendragon

Pendragon's head of digital transformation, Owen Gill, has warned that the complexity of automotive products makes it hard for modern car buyers to transact online.

Speaking on a recent edition of The Armchair Show, a video podcast for the UK automotive sector which AM is now partnering, Gill shared his view that the motor industry has struggled to adapt in the past but now is a critical time for change.

"I think the year that we've had forced a lot of automotive businesses to change how they see digital transformation.

"Those that adapt quickest, and understand that need to change, will be the ones who will win in this journey," he said.

The Armchair Show, in association with eBay Motors Group, has grown to more than 250,000 views and is produced by Armchair Marketing, which has partnered with AM to launch The AM & Armchair News Show podcast in 2021.

Gill believes the COVID-19 situation has given many "that kickstart - you need to change or you will get left behind".

With consumers being faced with so much choice across powertrain, trim and specification, whether to buy locally or focus on the best price nationally, this complexity makes their experience sub-optimal and causes challenges for motor retailers.

Gill added: "It makes if very difficult, from an online point of view, to give every single user everything they need on a website or third party listing provider or whatever it may be."


Gill doesn't believe the growth in online selling signals a change in car buyers' fundamental needs. "They're going to have the same questions, the same concerns, so treat them exactly the same.

"Everyone likes to transact at different levels. Some research online, some like to talk to someone face-to-face.

"There's absolutely no right way en-mass. But there definately is the right way for an individual and they will only know it."

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