Rockar moves up the gears with exciting new partnership

Jaguar Land Rover has launched a pioneering new digital retail store in partnership with Seneca-backed business Rockar. Rockar, is now offering customers the opportunity buy their car entirely online at www.landrover.rockar.com or www.jaguar.rockar.com, with the additional option of visiting an innovative, new “digital” store located at Westfield Stratford, London.

The Rockar platform has already been used by thousands of customers to purchase new Hyundai vehicles both in-store and online since launching in 2014, and the business celebrated significant financial backing in July 2016, when the Seneca Corporate Finance team successfully raised £5m of growth capital from NVM Private Equity and Maven Capital to allow the business to continue its rapid expansion. The fundraising follows the 2014 investment in to Rockar by the Seneca EIS Portfolio Service.

At the announcement of the latest tie-in with Jaguar Land Rover, Rockar’s founder Simon Dixon explained his strategy for success, “At Rockar, we’ve turned new car buying on its head and created a whole new way of buying a car. Our research has revealed that customers in today’s digital age are looking for an easier way of buying cars, more aligned to how they shop for their clothes, foods and gadgets.”

The Rockar stores have been the subject of much interest throughout the retail world, since Rockar’s very first store at Bluewater, Kent caused a stir by defeating some of the biggest names in UK retail to clinch the “Best Digital Store” award at last year’s BT Retail Week Tech & Ecomm Awards. Some commentators have likened the Rockar store concept to Apple stores with customers greeted with wall-to-wall digital content which showcases the product, and can expect to be served by ‘angels’ who are described as “non-selling product experts”.

The Rockar ‘Angels’ offer advice as well as helping customers to navigate the in-store configurators and showing them around the fleet of six display cars, comprising both Jaguar and Land Rover models. Customers are then able to complete their purchase on the accompanying website – in store or at home.

According to JLR, the new service has been developed “in response to changing demands from its customers”. However, JLR adds that there is no need to visit the physical store, as the website allows customers to browse models, book test drives, specify your car, arrange finance and trade in your current vehicle.

When asked why JLR chose Westfield Stratford as a location, a spokesman said: “The Stratford area was already an open point in our retail network, and there is clearly exciting potential around the Westfield shopping complex, so we have the right opportunity, in the right location, at the right time, with the right partner.”

JLR boss Jeremy Hicks added: “Our retailers are investing £1bn in the UK network and our partnership with Rockar presents some of the incremental new, innovative solutions that we are introducing to engage and service our customers.”

Hyundai launched its digital car buying service in conjunction with Rockar in November 2014, supported by a physical site at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. Following its success, the Korean brand opened a second Rockar-branded store in Westfield Stratford – the same location as JLR’s new store.

The Seneca Partners Limited Corporate Finance Team are experienced advisers specialising in deals in the range £5 million to £100 million (mid-market transactions). We advise entrepreneurs, shareholders and institutions as well as corporate clients. We have expertise across a broad range of sectors, and advise on disposals, management buy-outs, buy-ins, fundraisings, acquisitions and strategic issues. Our team collectively has advised on over £1 billion of transactions. For more information contact a member of the team on 01942 295 983.

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