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Motor retailers will adapt to online sales, says Barclays expert

Similarly to the holiday industry, the retail banking industry has changed considerably in the last 15 years to provide lots of services available digitally to consumers at their convenience and reduce its physical footprint.

In a session titled The Adapter View, Barclays Partner Finance enlightens delegates at the Automotive Retail Congress about how the retail and banking industry is rapidly evolving as consumers want to do more with technology, prioritising speed and convenience over regular visits to the High Street.

As managing director, future payments, at Barclaycard (the Barclays’ division overseeing Barclays Partner Finance), Nick Kerigan is responsible for driving innovation globally across the cards and payments business, ultimately helping commercial businesses adapt to suit consumer demand.

Kerigan illustrates how existing retailers have changed their business model and integrated digital to battle large online retailers, and how the banking sector has also incorporated digital extensively, with apps to help customers better manage their finances and in-branch ‘digital eagles’ helping customers access online services.

He said: “New business models such as Airbnb, which offers the most rooms online without even owning a hotel room itself, have changed consumer expectations forcing retailers to rethink the digital and the physical world.

“There was a time when the ecommerce and physical worlds were completely separate but ecommerce is coming into the physical world and it is winning.

“Businesses like Argos are doing it well whilst at Barclays we have redefined ourselves and continued to transform. We have retained and evolved our physical presence whilst growing digitally to 11m digitally active customers, including 7.6m active mobile banking users.

“For us, lessons learned include the need for an absolute focus on the customer experience and how to use both physical and digital assets together.”

Kerigan said the human element remains central, and he emphasises that businesses must help customers make that journey to digital.

“You can’t just have staff selling, they have to do some very different tasks such as answering more complex queries and keeping customers informed – they need to be the experience.

“There is an opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves – just a few years ago Argos was a paper-based catalogue business and now it offers same-day delivery backed by a reconfigured ‘hub and spoke’ distribution model.

“If retailers and banks can do it, then it can be done in the motor space too.”

Source: AM Online

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