Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Pendragon’s approach to automotive retail in a hybrid world

We’re all now well aware of how the pandemic has drastically changed the way we live our lives but, for some, the world has changed a lot more than others. One sector that has had to adapt in a big way is the automotive sector.

“When we went into lockdown, we couldn’t sell cars as we traditionally do,” said Kim Costello, Chief Marketing Officer at automotive retailer Pendragon, speaking at the Sitecore Symposium 2022. “With not being able to bring people to showrooms, we had to find another way to trade.”

In response to people being forced to stay indoors, Pendragon decided to take its business entirely online, claiming to be “one of the first automotive retailers” to do so.

Pendragon – which owns Stratstone and Evans Halshaw – worked with Sitecore to create a fully transactional website, which enabled consumers to purchase vehicles, and have them delivered to their homes.

This website continues to play a big role in Pendragon’s strategy, because it’s identified that even car consumers have permanently moved to a more hybrid way of purchasing vehicles – much like we’ve seen across all retail sectors.

“We serve all segments of customers. Therefore, you have people that want to do fully end-to-end with no individual contacting them. Then you have others that want a hybrid approach. One of the things we’ve been able to do with Sitecore as our partner is offer that to the customer,” said Costello.

“We put the customer at the centre of what we want to do. Customer journey, and customer centricity is so important to us. So, we want to be able to serve the customer that wants fully online, as well as the traditional customer and everything in between with the hybrid approach.”

Costello was chatting to Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis

In order to provide consumers with the best possible experience, Pendragon has placed “appropriate friction points” within its online experience, while ensuring that “the journey is enjoyable for the customer,” according to Costello.

“What has been really beneficial is the journey that they can start online, go into the store, pick up exactly where they left off online, and either transact there or go back home to finish the transaction online.”

The overall aim for Pendragon is to reduce the stress of purchasing a car, which is often not a very straightforward, or customer-centric, experience.

“I’m sure you’ve purchased cars before… it can be a very stressful process. And it’s not always customer-focused… That’s something that we’re working really hard to make seamless, so you can interact however you want. And we meet you wherever you are as a customer in your journey, and we’re able to fulfil whatever you need at that point,” concluded Costello.

Pendragon is currently dealing with a cyberattack via LockBit, where a ransom demand of $60 million has been made by a group of hackers over an alleged unsolicited cash offer to purchase the company.


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