5 Star Reputation – Digital Experts for Independent Dealers

Is Your Dealership Ready for the Retail Apocalypse?

A significant number of traditional car dealerships have seen dips in revenue, or at least a lack of growth, which can be attributed to the increasing popularity of online shopping and more convenient delivery methods.

Experts have termed this surge in e-commerce the ‘retail apocalypse’, after mass bankruptcies in the US retail sector. America has been hit particularly hard and fast by this online shopping revolution, but as a rule, patterns which occur in the US retail industry seem to later duplicate themselves in Europe.

There are numerous social and economic differences between Europe and the US which could affect the extent to which e-commerce disrupts bricks-and-mortar businesses, but there are important lessons to be learned from America’s experiences.


In Europe, a higher proportion of businesses are family owned and run, passed down through generations. This type of company tends to be managed and financed more conservatively. In the US, leveraged buyouts are more common, which involve a high level of risk.

US companies which resorted to methods that left them in debt like this, were vulnerable to declines in sales as interest in online shopping rose, while the way in which European business operate and are financed is more stable on the whole. Having said that, research specialist, Scope, has found that UK patterns of company ownership and debt are more similar to the US.

Real Estate

America has more commercial real estate for retailing per capita than European countries and the shift to online shopping will have affected a large number of bricks-and-mortar businesses. Having less physical retail stores may mean less of a dramatic impact for Europe.

Public Acceptance

A retail apocalypse will only occur if people are willing to change the way they shop. In America, around 14% of retailers’ revenues were generated online in their latest financial year, in contrast to just 5% in Europe.

However, this is only a median average, and looking at European countries individually paints a different picture. In the UK, France and Germany, roughly 15% of revenues were generated digitally.


When assessing the correlations between the US and Europe, Britain stands out as an anomaly. The UK is highly advanced in omni-channel retailing and as consumers, we have generally been quick to accept e-commerce.

It seems that the retail apocalypse is slower to hit most European countries, which could be due to the way in which businesses are financed and the more gradual increase in the popularity of online shopping, whereas bricks-and-mortar companies in Britain are having to fight off competition from digital competitors and adapt their businesses to embrace digitalisation as a matter of urgency.


Adapting your business model to respond to the surge in interest in e-commerce is easier than it sounds. It will involve ensuring that your company is visible to consumers browsing online and providing them with the means to make a purchase online. Click Dealer have expanded our services in order to help your dealership evolve.

Increasing online visibility can be done by using various methods of search engine marketing, including SEO, PPC advertising and social media marketing. Click SEM can help with this.

If you are interested in implementing a digital retailing platform on your website to allow visitors to complete part of their deal online, ClickEngage™ will allow you to process part-exchange valuations, finance quotes and transactions automatically.

To find out more about Click SEM or ClickEngage™, get in touch via marketing@clickdealer.co.uk  or  01782 454354. Alternatively, you can send us a message through our contact page.


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