A new car dealing startup is changing the way cars are sold, as their new shop sits in a shopping centre and uses a new mobile payment technology.
The Bluewater in Kent, where you might normally go for an evening at the cinema or in the day to purchase some new threads, will now host a new type of shop selling Hyundais. Rockar, situated a short walk away from Marks and Spencer, will be the first car sales company to take the advantages of digital retail and employ them into a traditional store.
Inspired by Apple
Simon Dixon, the founder of Rockar, was inspired by the selling and paying methods at the Apple store.
“We have turned the traditional car dealership process on its head. With our system and technology customers are in charge all the way.
“They make a tailored search based on their circumstances - budget, mileage, deposit, can book a solo test drive, sell their old car, choose suitable finance, build a new one and track delivery. It is up to them whether they speak to one of our staff.”
The store still has expert employees who are in store and ready to help, they are known as Rockar’s ‘Angels’. Each of them are armed with an online terminal plugged into their smartphone or tablet that allow the user to create secure deposit transactions and source key financial information.
Dixon explains that without the inconvenience of having to work from a till, the smart technology gives employees the freedom to aid and sell to the customer more freely.
“The flexibility and convenience we gain is very important for customer service. Angels aren’t tied to a till and they aren’t pushy sales people on commission, focussed on negotiation and pulling off a deal,
“Our product experts are immediately available and able to inform any customer coming in. We have positioned the cars to where people go naturally, rather than in locations where they have to make a specific journey. We also offer test drives and an all-makes service here too.”
Rockar are using the Barclaycard Anywhere service, which allows payments to be taken almost anywhere. The technology will do wonders for small businesses and could be game changing for mobile motor trade services such as valets or mechanics.
Already Taken £1 million
Rockar is barely 5 months old, yet it has already taken £1 million in sales and hopes to turnover £9 million in their first year. The company was originally backed by £5 million worth of private investment and has put down £3 million for a future lease commitment.
The idea has been massively popular and in their first 3 months of trading they had 62,000 visitors, which is more than the whole Hyundai network for that time. The new concept has even eaten into second hand car sales, with 72% of their customers saying they would normally buy a used car, and 48% used their current car as part exchange to purchase their new Hyundai.
Dixon himself has done his time in the motor trade but reflects that it was his time outside the business that really gave him the insight into the customer experience
“Being a customer, what they want when they buy a car. Understanding that perspective is the biggest thing I’ve learned and put into Rockar.”
Dixon hopes to open a number of new stores in locations around the UK, using a different car manufacturer each time.