Currently reading: BMW launches radical online ordering system
BMW customers can now order a completely new car in less than 10 minutes with the launch of its new online ordering system

BMW is promising that customers will be able to buy a new car online in only 10 minutes, after announcing that the UK will be the first market globally to get the company’s next generation of internet retailing.

Introduced with the co-operation of 137 dealers in the BMW UK network, the new system combines BMW’s existing configurator and ‘car suggestion tool’ with online Genius chat operators and a tie-in with used car valuations specialist Glass’s. Nine dealers have piloted the system in the UK, selling around 50 cars.

Car manufacturers have been experimenting with increasingly diverse ways of interacting with their customers - including more retail-focused experiences at shopping centres and ‘virtual showrooms’ that don’t feature any vehicles.

BMW believes it is the first to offer the full ordering and finance process as part of the system, though. The company’s global boss of sales and marketing Ian Robertson said: “Ten years ago the customer went to the dealership an average of 4.5 times before buying the car; now it’s 1.5 times. So we already know there’s an enormous amount of research being done online - more than 90% of buyers do preparation there before going anywhere near a showroom.”

He admitted the new experience was a challenge to BMW’s existing sales network. “There was clear nervousness to start with,” he said, “but during the pilot the dealers have been seeing customers they’ve never seen before, and sold cars in the middle of the night. It was enough to persuade 137 dealers in the UK to sign up to it. We have to reflect the fact that the sales process is becoming more transactional than experiential.”

At present the system is exclusively for BMW vehicles. However, high-level sources admit that a roll-out to the Mini brand is likely.

Six steps - how BMW's E-Tailer works

1. The system asks questions about your needs - typical journey, number of family members etc - and then suggests a few possible choices from the 280 models in the BMW range.

2. Configure a car from scratch or adapt the model suggested by the system. ‘Genius’ advisors are online to offer any advice between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.

3. Check the delivery time of the car and spec you want - and see if near-matches to it are available more quickly.

4. Choose the dealer you want to handle your sale - and then open a dialogue with them. BMW says that you can ‘haggle’ at this point.

5. If you’ve got a car to trade in, you give its registration plate and mileage and the system gives you a rough idea of what it’s worth. You can then feed this figure into the system for the final step.

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6. Payment and ordering. Use of a finance calculator allows you to play with annual mileage, monthly payments, deposit and the length of term. You can also apply for finance; an answer takes 90 seconds, BMW claims.You can pay your deposit using a credit card or bank transfer - and the system informs you that the car will be delivered to your home.

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ftm594 29 November 2015

White goods?

So now buying a car is reduced to the level of ordering a fridge from Currys. It will work for a Company Car User Chooser who is told to order a ...yawn...BMW 320D....without options and only a choice of black, white or silver but mostly by time wasters half asleep at 2am and a bit drunk. It will add sales but also reduce salesmen/saleswomen so they should be worried because this is the car equivilent of the self service checkout at Asda.

As mentioned above, the trade in valuation will be a standard figure and no notice taken of condition but if you turn up with a dent and stone chip battered, scratchy black one with Biro marks and spilled curry everywhere, it will be marked down (with a target reduction percentage set beforehand). However arrive with a showroom standard, cherished gleamer and they will not take a scrap of notice...the Glass's Guide figure is all they will use..less 15/20%!

A predictable internet development....but not the way I will be buying a car thank you! I just reflect on BMW in 1970/ impossible dream in the showroom window...a really special inspiration. Now....who ever buys one with their hard earned savings???

xxxx 30 November 2015

you could be onto something

You may well be right about the drunks ordering at 3.00 in the morning, wonder if you need to put down a deposit, money not sick that is.
centenary 27 November 2015

And no ability to negotiate a

And no ability to negotiate a discount on the cars either! Nice earner for BMW but I'll still visit the dealership thanks.
catnip 27 November 2015

Cynical old me wonders if the

Cynical old me wonders if the "suggested" or "near-matches" will generally be more expensive than the one you originally thought of?