We all love a good browse online, don’t we? But, do you realise it’s less than 25 years since Amazon started less than 22 since they added their second product range in CDs and DVDs. Before that, they were an online bookstore losing millons because people didn’t like entering their credit card details online!

You can see the history of Amazon here.

Quite remarkable isn’t it? I can clearly remember the first time I entered my card details online. It was with a large degree if dread!

I also remember the first time I tried to get online card processing for an online business. The hoops I had to jump through to be refused by the Bank!

Online Payment Processing

Then along came PayPal and things changed. Everyone had access to online payments all of a sudden. It was epxensive, but it was there.

Nowadays we have all manner of amazing online services to oil the wheels of ecommerce.

Consequently the move to an online sales world is pretty much complete.

High Street Change

The High Street was, of course, squealing before the Covid-19 pandemic. And, that pandemic has surely hastened the demise of most High Streets. In the U.K, my Town’s high street was already reduced to coffee shops, restaurants, banks, estate agents and not much else. Maybe a couple of specialist boutiques and antique shops, oh and jewellers!

You can go in to any of 60 plus coffee establishments and meet the Yummie Mummies supping at their hazelnut, soya lattes and chattering away about their latest SUV. The High Street had changed before Covid!

Covid Accelerating Change

Covid is definitely accelerating the pace of change. Espcially as lockdown after lockdown digs yet another knife into retail on the High Street. I think “out of Twon shopping” will always have it’s place, but the traditional Town high street will be changing – big tme. The change that has already happened will have a natural evolution. I use the word evolution as opposed to conclusion because technology will drive eCommerce to ever new heights.

Again, going back 25 years, Digital Marketers were an after-thought in the IT Deaprtment.

Growth and Change In The Online World

Nowadays, there are many different job functions in an online marketing department. Back when Amazon started no-one had every heard of a Growth Hacker, a Content Marketer or Social Media Manager. All of these roles have developed as technology has driven online marketing.

And, that has made online marketing and eCommerce more complex by definition.

However, that complexity has meant that an incredible user experience and journey can be delivered for the user. This is why the massive transfer to eCommerce was already well under way. Covid simply sped up the process.

Xmas Shopping

Just as an example, I did 80% of my Xmas shopping online last year. AsI am going to be in self-isolation on my return from Spain in December this year, I reckon that is going to accelerate to 100% in 2020. And that is out of necessity, so you can start to see the sort of inexorable drivers that are killing the high street and moving business into the jaws of the big eCom companies.

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It’s certainly true any business is tough in these strange times in which we live at the moment.

We keep hearing about businesses having to pivot to make the best of the new scenario. The high street dying, the rise and rise of online sales.

But, what about used car sales?

We’ve seen Cazoo enter the market in the United Kingdom with their campaign to “buy a used car from your settee”, but is it working?

acar2go

The Team at aCar2Go

We spoke to Mark Duncan at aCar2Go just outside of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire U.K for a view.

Mark, you have been in used cars for many years, what is your take on companies like Cazoo trying to muscle in on what has traditionally been a forecourt business?

Interesting Times

“It’s an interesting one”, he smiles, “we very much trade on our highly personal service and have many customers who come back to use time after time. They buy cars for themselves, their wives and their children.

We are well known in the local area for selling quality used cars that we fully service and if there is a complaint we deal with it quickly, efficiently and sympathetically. This means we have a good reputation and word of mouth and customer service is important to us”.

That’s great to hear and I love stories where customer service truly wins out. My belief is you cannot get true customer service online, without that personal touch.

Customer Service In Used Car Sales

“Very much so”, Mark jumps at the thought, “I think used car sales is a particular case in point. You want to see how people react to sitting in a car, how the react to the colour of the car, the smell, the touch, the feel. You can only gauge that if you are actually with the person and they are looking at and assessing their potential new car. I teach my sales people to look for people’s reactions and when they get a god reaction ask questions about how and why the person has reacted the way they have”.

So, it’s all about sales then?

Psychology Sells Cars

“More than that in my opinion, it’s psychology”, he smiles over his coffee, “it’s about what turns the customer “on” when they look at a car. Are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic people? Are they turned on by the look of the car, the feel of it, or the smell or the sound it makes when it’s fired up?”

“My sales people are trained to spot this and gently direct the customer to what they think is the best fit in terms of a used car for them. It’s an art!  But, as I said, people keep coming back to buy their cars from us and we are in essentially a small village location here in Aston Clinton just outside of Aylesbury”.

“It’s areas such as this that I can’t see how an operation like Cazoo can win? I don’t want to be disparaging about their business model, but I just can’t see they would end up having customers as satisfied as ours are? We like our customers to totally fall in love with their new car before they hand over the money. Cazoo just seems a little bit too clinical to me, after all buying a car has always been, and I believe will always remian, an emotional decison”.

I agree, Mark, and as I said, I am all for true persoanl service.

You can find aCar2Go by clicking here.