Imagine a future where car dealerships place you, the customer, in control.
Where sales targets slip down the priority list and are overtaken by experience, satisfaction and honesty. Sounds like the stuff of pure fantasy, right?
“We think we can turn the industry on its head with this plan,” explains Rockar boss and founder Simon Dixon. “Rockar doesn’t chase sales targets; we believe customers will buy from us if they enjoy the experience.”
Rockar has stores in the south of England with Hyundai. The stores bear more resemblance to Apple stores than car dealerships, with two or three car models on display and a selection of touchscreen computers connected to Rockar’s website. Dixon is confident this set-up previews the future of dealerships.
“The current system is outdated,” he explains. “For example, 75% of women feel intimated in [conventional] car dealerships. Who would build a business model where this number is considered the norm?”
Conversely, 70% of Rockar’s employees are women, and a large proportion work part-time. “Employing women was not a target,” Dixon adds. “We just want people with great personalities and a great retention of knowledge. It just so happens nearly three-quarters of ours are female.”
Contrast this to regular dealerships, where male-dominated workforces work full-time hours, and Rockar’s layout looks like a polar opposite.
Probably the biggest contrast comes with the skill set of Rockar’s employees. They aren’t sales people; instead, they’re trained purely to be experts in their field. At Hyundai’s dealerships, the field is the brand's model line-up, including extra features and customisation options.
“Our employees aren’t paid commission for sales, as their job is to empower the customer with the knowledge they want, rather than to hard sell,” continues Dixon. “The customer might only be supported by people in the shop about the product, supported through the journey of speccing a car so they know all the facts.”
Dixon reveals that more than half of his company’s sales come from women and 60% of purchases are made outside of stores, when customers return home and venture online after having had a positive experience in a shop. His claims of customer satisfaction are backed up by a near clean sweep of five-star feedback ratings on Hyundai’s Dartford Rockar store website. Only a couple of 4.5/5 ratings keep the store from achieving 100%.