Anna introduces us to Cazoo, the used car platform, founded by Alex Chesterman, the serial entrepreneur behind LoveFilm and property portal Zoopla.

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic has seen the on/off closure of our high street shops for most of 2020, putting a freeze on many in-person transactions and forcing us online to make non-essential purchases.

In what might be a sign of the times and a speeding up of the inevitable ecommerce move for traditionally offline business models, Cazoo is reimagining used car buying.

Used cars are the biggest retail market in the UK. With almost 8 million transactions a year, worth £50 billion, the average Briton travels 70 miles to see a car they may not buy. It was only a matter of time before the car industry became something we managed from our laptops, meaning the end of dealer visits and haggling with a used-car salesman.

Founded by Alex Chesterman, who previously launched film service LoveFilm and property portal Zoopla, the idea for Cazoo was to buy in a stock of used cars, rather than acting as a middleman, connecting buyers and sellers like Autotrader.

An industry which suffers from a lack of consumer trust, Cazoo is adding transparency. Each vehicle from Cazoo goes through a 150-point inspection by trained mechanics at the firm's 55-acre storage facility based in the Midlands to ensure it's condition.

Vehicles are delivered to your door and if you're not happy after a week, you can ask them to come pick it up. For further peace of mind, each car is provided with seven days free insurance, free 90-day warranty and RAC roadside assistance. It will have around 1,500 motors to choose from at any time, ranging from family SUVs to sporty hatchbacks and electric vehicles.

Fifteen years ago, people said no one will buy clothes online. Whether people embrace buying a car online is a question only time can reveal. So far the signs are good and the timing perfect. The past few months have seen an acceleration in the shift from offline to online car buying as UK consumers look for virtual ways to avoid physical contact. Boosted additionally by more people wanting a car for getting from A to B instead of taking public transportation.

The company is now valued at over £2 billion and the latest funding round was used to grow the team and infrastructure, developing the proposition to make car buying better and safer for all UK consumers.

By Anna Bance
January 2021

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Anna Bance

Anna is the co-founder of Girls Meets Dress and a contributing editor to the GWG. She expertly guides us round the most covetable online fashion.