Soon, European customers who are interested in acquiring a vehicle branded as Renault or Dacia won’t have to frequent dealerships just to choose one, as they only have to spend a few clicks in front of the computers to select their desired units. Renault and Dacia are joining a number of carmakers who are engaging in selling their vehicles online.
The carmakers are set to launch The Dacia Store and Renault Retail Group online shopping portals by the end of 2014. Through the Dacia Store, interested buyers in Holland can price and purchase all of the low-cost brand's vehicles.
Customers can also price and produce down payments on Dacia models in Italy and the United Kingdom. The Renault Retail Group's online portal will allow customers to configure, price and make a down payment for both Renault and Dacia models.
Patrick Hoffstetter, head of Renault's digital factory division, remarked that while the online purchase process is different, customers must still pick up their vehicles at the dealerships, noting that offering cars online remains in line with Renault’s traditional distribution strategy.
Dealerships are still in the equation. Hoffstetter quipped that their online marketing strategy is aimed at reaching a growing percentage of customers who want most of their car-buying experience to be online.
According to analysts at Frost & Sullivan, carmakers will increasingly use the Internet to market and sell their cars. Carmakers sold around 5,000 vehicles through the Web in 2011 and Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the figure will reach more or less 4.5 million units by 2020.
According to Frost & Sullivan, dealerships that fail to innovate could suffer the same fate as several large book and electronics chains. The firm noted that leading retailers in the publishing and entertainment sector earn over 50 percent of their revenues from online sales, forcing the closure of several megastores.