In a year of a pandemic, many companies battened down the hatches and investing was left to only the bravest out there. With 40 years in business, the Peter Cooper Motor Group was quick to reduce unnecessary costs so the important investments could continue, despite Covid cuts everywhere around them.
A ‘significant’ amount was invested into its digital and website platforms that ended up being pivotal in the sales performance over the past 12 months, turning out to be one the best investments of the year.
The objective was to simplify the customer journey, creating a more engaged and efficient experience for the user. They didn’t want to just capture enquiries, but also to give the user the ability to choose a vehicle and buy it on line, without stepping in to the showroom, or speaking to a member of the team.
The mission began with a deep dive into what a customer looks for when engaging digitally. It was clear they were designing a completely new look and feel to customer engagement, one that pushed the boundaries of existing automotive web sites.
Top of its agenda was to ensure the Group had an e-commerce website, allowing the customer to browse all vehicles on sale; engage online in live chat with one of the team if needed; apply for finance; receive a part-exchange valuation; reserve or even fully purchase the vehicle there and then, completing and signing all financial documentation so the vehicle could either be collected through Click’N’Collect or delivered to the customer’s home.
The challenge to this usually ‘task heavy’ process was keeping the Group’s top-rated customer-care experience as high as possible. It had to be streamlined, quick and easy for the user; to allow the user to fundamentally enjoy the experience.
To give customers confidence to buy online, they reduced the deposit to a minimal commitment of only £99 on any Approved Used Car from within the Group (including all their Volkswagen sites and Prestige Cars sites). To further strengthen confidence, all online purchases came with the Peter Cooper 14-day money back guarantee and 30-day vehicle exchange policy.
The vision soon became a reality and the Group launched its new site in April 2020, just a month after all its showrooms had to close due to Covid-19.
Customer feedback was above expectations and the new ‘remote’ world leant itself perfectly to the investments the Group had made.
Darren Cooper, managing director commented: “Any investment of this size is always a well-considered decision, so we were confident it would help set us apart from our competitors. Obviously, we weren’t to know that the pandemic would strike our industries as it had but thank goodness we had invested when we had. The new site became our only shop window, so I’m delighted it was as fresh and engaging as it could be. The statistics backed it up as well, with over 6,000 online enquiries being received over the pandemic and over 300 online purchases.”
So, what’s coming next? Darren continued: “The future is slowly becoming clearer for us all and our challenge is to simplify everything for our customers, while still delivering an exceptional level of service. We are now looking at online booking for servicing, MOT and repairs, with contactless drop off and pickup facilities on site.”
The company is also looking into new car configurators where customers can personalise a new car with factory fitted options; create tailored finance quotations, buy online and then track the vehicle through each stage of its build at the factory, right up to it arriving at the dealership.
Darren concluded: “Virtual showroom experiences are also on the agenda, with bespoke online meetings and product presentations via video or possibly even VR. We have to cater for a mix of customers’ demands; some love the showroom experience and interacting with our teams, others would prefer not to speak to anyone or to leave their home or office. The new platforms we’re investing in will help us achieve our goals, no matter what the preference of our customers.
"It seems our investment at Peter Cooper Motor Group has only just begun.”