By Steve & Tamami Laser
Hyundai Motor UK and its partner digital retailer Rockar have launched what’s billed as the “World’s first digital automotive retail experience.” The team unveiled its first store today in the upscale Bluewater mall in Kent, UK. While this brick and mortar outlet looks similar to an Apple Store, the real retail revolution takes place online.
According to Rockar Hyundai, the entire new car-buying process can now be conducted online in as little as “five minutes.” Customers can research, choose and buy a new Hyundai using a laptop computer, tablet or even a smart phone.
Two years in the making, this concept provides a “truly customer-focused experience that allows visitors to research, test-drive, part-exchange their old car and purchase a new Hyundai – with cash or various finance packages – all at the click of a mouse or touch of a button,” says Rockar Hyundai.
Instead of salespeople, Rockar Hyundai calls its in-store staff “Rockar Angels” who are present to assist customers with the purchase process, whether they’ve completed it online or prefer to do so in-store.
Time will tell whether Rockar Hyundai signals a paradigm shift in the way that new cars are purchased, or perhaps customers still prefer the traditional model that’s been used for decades.
Could the Rockar Hyundai business model be used in other countries? According to Hyundai, this is not a factory-owned store: “Rockar Hyundai is a partnership between Hyundai Motor UK as the vehicle manufacturer and supplier, and Rockar as the franchise holder and retailer. It is covered by a standard UK dealer agreement, and has been treated by Hyundai as any other new point of representation. It is not a pilot project or a ‘pop-up dealership’, but a long-term and significant financial investment which both partners believe will quickly establish Rockar Hyundai as one of the manufacturer’s top 10 dealerships in the UK by sales volume.”
Once thing is certain: The digital age has nearly eliminated book and record stores, while printed newspapers and magazines are on the endangered species list. Could car dealers as we know them be next?
News source and photos courtesy of Hyundai Motor UK. Information is subject to change without notice.
Story (commentary) © 2014 CarNichiWa.com