Jaguar Land Rover is following Hyundai into digital car sales, cutting out the traditional dealer.
The premium brand is working with Rockar, which pioneered the digital concept with Hyundai in 2014, opening digital stores in the Bluewater and Westfield Stratford shopping centres.
The concept behind the stores is to enable customers to buy cars in a similar way to buying clothes, food and electronic gadgets. Each store is staffed by ‘Angels’, who are present to advise customers, such as showing them colour samples and leather finishes, but not specifically to sell cars to them – this process is carried out by the customer themselves completely online either in the store or at home.
The website will include everything needed to buy a Jaguar or Land Rover – from choosing individual specifications to booking a test drive and trading in an existing car – and it will not be necessary to visit the Westfield store.
According to JLR’s network development manager, Sarah Nelmes, the concept is to introduce a more relaxed environment to the car buying process, where customers can learn about the cars at their own pace.
“Customer needs are changing as our lifestyles and the technology available to us evolves,” Sarah says.
“We want to make sure that every customer journey is a truly enjoyable and premium experience representative of our two great British brands. Jaguar and Land Rover customers can now choose from a suite of buying and servicing options that can be tailored to their individual preferences and requirements so that they can start to enjoy the whole ownership experience from the very first moment.”
At Rockar’s previous Hyundai stores, 54 per cent of the buyers have been women, much higher than in the traditional retail motor industry. The average age of customers is only 39, and 60 per cent leave the store to complete their purchase online at home.
JLR is not abandoning the traditional retail market, however. Its 201 existing retailers are currently undergoing a £1bn refurbishment programme.