Ashton used car store refuses to buckle under pandemic pressures

A used car store in Ashton has had to close its doors again but says it feels "well equipped" to deal with the third national lockdown that the country is now under. 

CarShop Manchester off Lord Sheldon Way, which rebranded from The Car People in 2019, has reported positive annual sales figures despite the uncertainty that Covid-19 presents.

The store's Head of Business, Paul Harnett, pins this success down to the retailer's huge investment in its digital offering - most significantly, around its Click-and-Collect service.

The group worked hard over summer to advance its national Click-and-Collect offering to a much higher degree than what would have been possible in normal years of trading, with the need to offer customers a COVID-safe purchasing experience.

CarShop also remodelled the service based on research around customer preference - for example, which parts of the car-buying process gave the customers the most, and the least, joy. 

Customers can now use the Click-and-Collect service to browse models and makes for sale in the Greater Manchester area, where there are over 700 vehicles – and UK-wide, which gives them access to over 10,000 cars. They can do this from the comfort of their own homes before holding their preferred car online at carshop.co.uk for only £99. This amount can then be fully refunded if they change their mind. Plus, the entire paperwork element of buying a car on finance or part exchange is sorted remotely in advance.

And, it seems, people are buying into the idea.

Mr Harnett said: “Myself and the rest of the CarShop Manchester team have seen a really positive response from customers this past year - especially around our Click-and-Collect service and how ‘faff-free’ the process is.”

On the thought process behind its reinvented Click-and-Collect service, Nigel Hurley, CEO at CarShop, said: “When lockdown happened, it removed the opportunity for customers to come in-store and browse so we had to evolve very quickly. We have always offered Click-and-Collect as an option but, previously, it was about reserving the car online and then coming in store for everything else - including the paperwork.

“Now, however, we’ve consciously put a huge emphasis on the enjoyment that comes from buying a car. Customers can be assured of their complete safety, have all the fun of driving off with that new car, without any of the lengthy filling in forms in-store – it’s a win-win.”

CarShop says every car undergoes a rigorous multi-point safety check before becoming available for purchase - including thorough testing of its exterior, mechanics and interior to ensure that customers receive a premium quality vehicle.

CarShop Manchester's service centre - which provides visitors with a quick and easy way to MOT, service and repair their vehicle - also remains open for pre-arranged appointments during lockdown. These can be booked by visiting carshop.co.uk.

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