BMW launch new online car buying service
BMW are reinventing the car-buying game with a new online service, in which you purchase a car from the comfort of your home. You can select the specifications, choose your financing plan, complete payment and arrange handover all via BMW Retail Online. And the 24/7 process can take just ten minutes, if you know what you want.
The German manufacturers know that most people do their shopping online nowadays, so why not shop for their car online too? They say the rate of people visiting car showrooms before purchasing has dropped from an average of 4.5 visits to 1.4. This is because people research online before buying, like they do with most other items. And after piloting the new system in nine of their dealers, it’s now available in 95% of them.
Gavin Ward, BMW’s media relations manager, says: “industry research indicates that nearly half of all buyers would consider buying a vehicle online. With the integration of the BMW Genius via live chat and retailer messaging function, customers are still able to get the personalised support and guidance they would have if they were to visit a retailer.”
Keeping a step ahead of their competitors, BMW’s new service allows customers a hassle free buying experience. You can see the car you’re building in BMW’s 360-degree viewer, without leaving your desk. They have BMW Genius’ available to talk via phone, email or live chat between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week. You can arrange a test drive and finance options after you’ve selected your nearest dealer, who’ll complete the last few steps of the purchase.
It starts with ‘Find my BMW‘, which provides a recommended vehicle based on your answers to the four opening questions. After, you can select the exterior colour, interior upholstery, packages, features, wheels, ask questions, use the finance calculator, and opt for a pre-made design if yours will take too long to be made. Once you’ve selected your dealer, you can ‘haggle’ with price and discuss valuations if you’re trading in a model, with a salesperson. Then test drives can be arranged and payment plans finalised.
The company claim the process can take as little as ten minutes, so we put that claim to the test. After researching and finding out exactly what we wanted, we began the online process to buy a brand new BMW 218i SE Convertible.
The service was easy to use and we completed (well, almost completed) the process in under ten minutes. Sadly, we don’t have £30,000 lying around, but we’re sure the finance/purchasing part of the service is equally simple and quick.
We were able to find our nearest dealership and when our original model said it’d be ready in 14 weeks, the service suggested a slightly different variation on colour/features that would be available in 1 week. BMW has clearly researched what customers want and we’re impressed with the speed and efficiency of the new service.
If this is a successful venture for the luxury automaker, we may see more brands trying it too. Who knows, maybe this is the future of car buying. Would you buy your car online?