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Expert argues case for online car retail

17 November 2011 - 09:31 by David Aiken

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Douglas Rotberg, the man who manages the Tesco Cars service, has spoken out about the shifting market and said that more companies need to look at selling vehicles via safe shopping online in the UK.

By 2014, the number of people using e-commerce sites to buy products will have risen from 37 million to over 55 million, which will represent a significant majority of the UK's consumer base.

Mr Rotberg believes that creating digital showrooms will allow companies to sell cars to a much wider audience and avoid the impact of flagging sales at bricks and mortar outlets.

Tesco Cars has only been on the market since April, but its short lifespan is misleading because, in reality, it opened its digital doors in 2006 and was only assimilated into the Tesco family of service this year.

Mr Rotberg said that most consumers will only choose to do business with retailers that they trust. He explained that his company had put an emphasis on providing excellent customer service and ensures that the emphasis is always on giving the consumer control over their experience of shopping online.

Almost a third of the people who use Tesco Cars are female, which Mr Rotberg believes to be a significant statistic because he says that real world showrooms can often be a little intimidating, thus preventing women from taking the plunge and buying a vehicle.

By creating an online space for car sales, female drivers can browse and shop in the comfort of their own homes, according to Mr Rotberg.

The motor industry is just one more aspect of the retail world in which a multichannel approach is being promoted by some of the leading figures. A linkup between online services and showroom level features at dealerships across the UK seems likely.