The 'Argos of Cars' : First Unmanned Car Showroom Unveiled


A car dealer in the north of England is daring to be different with what it says will be the country's first unmanned car showroom.

ColinAppleyard.com, which has been selling cars and motorcycles across Yorkshire since the early 1970s, are planning what they call "the Argos of cars" to sell motors to clued up drivers who know exactly what they want.

Taking sales people out of the process may seem a risky business, but they say that it'll allow the company to devote its staff to providing great sales and service deals elsewhere.
"We're finding customers are immensely clued up about the exact cars they want even before they walk in through the door," says Robin Appleyard Managing Director, "They don't need somebody to sell them a car, because they've already made up their mind."
ColinAppleyard.com says the experimental show room will remove sales staff from the shop floor, and will instead feature tablet computers that will allow customers to look up further information, place their order and even apply for finance.

Customers will also find that pre-booked test drives will be all ready to go when they arrive on site. The showroom won't be entirely unstaffed, however: Expert help will still be on hand for those who require it.
"Customers are now the experts when it comes to motor purchases, and we're finding that our staff become more guides rather than sales people," says Robin.

"That's why we're experimenting with largely removing them from the process altogether, because we think the average buyer know enough to be able to do it all themselves. You do it for just about every other purchase you make, so why not cars?"
This is an opinion shared buy powerful customer research organisations over recent years. One major survey in 2013 over 80% of customers now do their research and selection for major purchases online rather than in stores; while another found that internet information and reviews could account for up to 90% of the decision-making process.
"We find car buyers have already downloaded the brochures, decided on their optional extras and even know what financial and service packages they want," said Robin.

"Short of taking the test drive, the entire buying decision has already been made before they even see a member of sales staff."
ColinAppleyard.com say they're not going to abandon the "traditional" car buyer who still wants to deal with a knowledgeable sales person who knows the ins and outs of their product line.
"We're well aware that not everybody is internet-savvy, and not everybody knows which of our deals is the best fit for them," says Robin, "That's why we'll still have sales staff available at the majority of our locations."
The new 'Argos of car sales' concept is for buyers who know what they want, while old-school customers will be met by sales staff across the Colin Appleyard group.
"This new concept in car sales allows us to concentrate on great service across all our sites," says Mr Appleyard. "The customer remains king for us, and we'll always treat them like royalty no matter how they want to buy their cars."
The first unmanned showroom will open in late 2014 in Yorkshire and if successful will be rolled out across 6 further locations.

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