Executive interview: Antony Roberts, Audi

by Jeremy

A recent paper from McKinsey suggests that car sales will become an omnichannel business. The idea of taking the time to look at shiny new vehicles on a forecourt, browse brochures, and touch and smell the cars in the showroom before heading over to the salesperson’s desk to make a purchase are perhaps a distant memory given the way the coronavirus has decimated the car industry. Selling cars has shifted to a more virtual, online experience, but the connection between manufacturers’ websites and dealerships is far from seamless.

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According to Antony Roberts, Audi hopes to make things a little more seamless from a car-buying perspective, head of digital at Audi UK. The company has been on a two-year journey to revamp its UK website. During this time, day-to-day life has changed radically, with coronavirus leading to lockdowns around the world. We are a 100-year-old business. If you can’t get to a dealership, you struggle,” he says, admitting there has been under-investment in digital technologies, but adding: “War acts as a catalyst for social change. We have seen lots of investment and change.

The Audi UK website has become a crucial aspect of the buying process. “We released a model page, and people can now access more information. The site is more feature-rich,” he says. Roberts’ inspiration for updating the site was to make it feel more like a Samsung or Apple website, but for automobiles. Significantly, Roberts says he has aspirations to make the Audi UK site feel as premium a product as Audi cars.

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