There’s more than one way to skin a car

The most exhilarating thing about ecommerce is the tidal wave of innovation it has unleashed. Just when you thought there was only one way to organise a market, someone re-writes the rulebook and turns convention on its head.

In the case of the new car sector, it was Rockar – closely partnered and supported by ourselves.

From insight to reality

Just three years ago, Rockar had a remarkable insight: that even with a high-ticket item like a new car, customers might be willing to forgo a clumsy, historical process in favour of a safe, swift and simple online transaction.

We confirmed their hunch with some exhaustive research. It revealed that consumers don’t necessarily require a test drive before purchasing. In fact, almost 40% of the UK public would be more likely to buy a car if they could avoid talking to a salesperson!

Once we’d established this rather counter-intuitive truth, we set about designing an online experience that enabled customers to choose a car, personalise it, organise part-exchange, choose from a range of finance options, and finally to arrange payment and delivery in less than 10 minutes without visiting a dealer.

As you’d imagine, our challenge was a complex one: namely, to integrate several different processes, owned by separate, specialised providers - car manufacturers, valuation companies and finance houses. However, the result has been an outstanding (you might say, game-changing) success story.

A revolution in automotive sales

The Rockar concept gives customers the power to choose the car they want and to buy it with monthly payments that can be just twice that of their mobile phone plan.

Our client now sells twice as many cars as an average dealership. The concept has proved especially popular with women, who feel more confident when sheltered from the ‘Top Gear effect’ of the traditionally male-dominated sales process. Indeed, 42% of Rockar’s customers are female.

However, those customers who are reassured by a smile and a firm handshake can visit Rockar’s retail space within the Bluewater shopping centre. This lends a further innovative spin on car retail – for while it may not be the obvious venue for a test-drive, Bluewater attracts over 12 million shoppers per annum

We worked with Rockar’s design team to create an inviting on-line environment and technology platform, covering every aspect of buying a new car. The transaction can be conducted at home or in-store, with no obligation to talk to anyone.

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From the first moment that we got really stuck in with the Summit team, it worked… We’re very likeminded: they and we believe that to challenge the norm is an exciting thing to do… We’ve got a great partner in Summit and we’re really pleased with the team and what they’ve helped us deliver. Simon Dixon, CEO and Founder, Rockar

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The Results

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Services used by Rockar

Online Strategy

> Explore Online Strategy
  • Customer research
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Business strategy
  • Digital strategy and roadmap


> Explore Ecommerce Technology
  • Technical architecture
  • Ecommerce platform build and management
  • Hosting, maintenance, support and roadmap
  • Integration with automotive systems and data providers
  • Product inventory management system
  • In-store POS

Online Marketing

> Explore Online Marketing
  • Owned media – SEO, content marketing, social outreach
  • Paid media – PPC


> Explore Trading
  • Website analytics and usability testing

Logistics & Service

> Explore Logistics & Service
  • Test drive and service booking
Chris Dickson
Want to find out more? Speak to...
Chris Dickson | Client Director