Recognising the need to prepare over 20,000 auto dealerships to engage with customers in the ongoing and post-pandemic era, the Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC) and Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) have joined hands with Google India to bridge the digital skill gap in the country’s auto dealerships and build their capacity in this critical growth driver.
Given the need for social distancing, industry experts believe that some customers may not wish to visit a dealership as many times as before prior to making a purchase decision, and hence, there is an urgent need for automotive retail to become virtual, lean, and flexible.
Tailor-made by Google India under its ‘Grow with Google’ initiative, the training program will be conducted via a series of webinars on Digital Marketing, Hyper Local Marketing, and Full Funnel Strategy on Google India’s YouTube channel. The focus of the program is on empowering dealer principals to adopt digital tools and platforms to engage with customers. In its second phase, the program also aims to train frontline sales and marketing executives via a series of vernacular executional videos. This will be followed by an online assessment and certification by Google India, ASDC and FADA.
Commenting on the initiative, Nikhil Bansal, Head of Automotive, Google India, said “Over the years, the window to influence purchase decisions through offline efforts has become smaller. The average number of visits to dealerships in India fell by 50% over the last three years from 2016 to 2019. And now, Covid-19 has made consumers further reluctant to visit car dealerships, and as a result, walk-ins are even fewer. To aid business recovery, auto players are encouraged to take their dealerships to customers, online. We have been working with leading auto OEMs to help them digitise their dealership networks, and with this initiative, we are now bringing our learning and support to handhold the larger auto dealer ecosystem to go digital in collaboration with ASDC and FADA. We are really excited to join hands with the industry in this first-of-its-kind initiative to help the dealer fraternity and support them in this necessary transition. “
Nikunj Sanghi, Chairman, Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), said, “We are collectively experiencing an unprecedented time. Covid-19 has brought significant change and our relationships have gone digital. Existing skills will require a lot of redefinition and skilling will play a major role when we re-enter the new world. We need to train the workforce on how to use digital tools and train the entire ecosystem to monitor their efficiency. Hence to maintain market continuity, both ASDC and FADA, with the help of Google, are helping the dealerships become as active as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on digital platforms. We are also constantly working towards enhancing our skill development initiatives keeping in pace with the rapidly changing technology trends and emerging industry needs. ASDC assessment and certification will help in boosting the competency and competitiveness of industry stakeholders”.
Talking about the webinars, Vinkesh Gulati, President, Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), said “With the advent of technology and new channels of communication, the classical approach to marketing products and services at the local level has undergone a paradigm change. Gone are the age-old practices of relying on inserts, banners, and small print ads to gain exposure. Today, geo-location targeting, hyper-local marketing and other sharply defined digital marketing techniques have revolutionized the advertising industry. The digital movement by the dealers’ community reaffirms FADA’s strong commitment to retain the dynamism of dealer business in the automobile ecosystem and also assure its participation in the government’s Digital India Movement in the post-Covid world. The Google-ASDC-FADA webinars are hence aimed to prepare Dealer Principals and their teams to stay ahead in the game in times to come.”
The initiative focuses on training over 20,000 auto dealerships across the country to build an online presence, and providing digital skill training to 100,000-plus auto dealers across the marketing and sales divisions.