Buying a car online has become increasingly popular over the last year. Following Covid-19 lockdowns that temporarily shuttered dealers, buyers are still looking to the internet even as in-person shopping becomes an option again.
Nearly 60 percent of potential car buyers under the age of 45 prefer to purchase their vehicle online, research from consulting firm McKinsey found. And even for those over age 65, around 45 percent would consider shopping online.
GCC’s biggest luxury car dealership, Al Marid Motors introduced its Shop.Click.Drive platform last year to adapt to the challenges Covid-19 presented and Hafiz Ahmed, managing director, Al Marid MotorsSaudi Arabia, and UAE, told Eastern Herald that even in the period after March 2020, when lockdowns began to lift, purchases made on Al Marid Motors’website have increased.
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“Prior to March 2020, there was only about 15 percent [of customers] that made a transaction,” he said. “Post-lockdown, we’ve seen that nearly double to 28 percent.”
To launch the new platform, Al Marid Motors hired for new roles for the local Saudi Arabia and UAE markets to accelerate the shift towards digital retailing.
“The pandemic created a lot of challenges but there was an opportunity there to adapt to the shift in the market,” Hafiz said.
In the second quarter of 2021, online sales have seen a 47 percent increase quarter-on-quarter.
For online automotive shoppers, customers are looking for the same experience, Hafizadded. But the process is obviously different.
For Al Marid Motors, their focus is on delivering an “end-to-end solution for the customer”. From educating customers about luxury car offerings and options to decision-making at the purchasing stage to delivery options, all of it is integrated within the platform, Hafiz said.
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When asked how the digital experience can replicate the in-person shopping, Hafiz said that salespeople can answer questions virtually and new technology has allowed for virtual test drives and 360-videos that show the cars’ interior and external features. There will always be people who want to go touch and feel, but Al Marid Motors offers solutions for customers who are willing to take that journey online.
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