The digital revolution in selling cars is taking stronger root by the day. The lines between the physical and the digital world are increasingly blurring and how. With social distancing becoming the new normal in a Covid-scarred world, the digital experience now holds a unique and almost indispensable position for vehicle manufacturers and their dealers. Maruti Suzuki India, the passenger vehicle market leader, has just confirmed the same.
Initiated around two years ago, Maruti Suzuki’s online digital initiative now covers nearly 1,000 of its dealerships across the country. Aligning with customer preferences, Maruti Suzuki says it pioneered online bookings in 2017. As customer behaviour further shifts online, dealership’s websites are witnessing a much larger traffic flow. The positive results of the initiatives are evident as digital enquiries for Maruti Suzuki have seen a five-fold increase to around 20% of total sales. In the prevailing COVID-19 scenario, the digital enquiry contribution has further increased exceeding 33% during the last 5 months.
Speaking on the digital initiatives, Shashank Srivastava, executive director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India said, “Nearly 95% of new car sales in India are digitally influenced as per the Google Auto Gear Shift India 2020 Report. Customers first research online and then buy at the physical dealerships. While online experience provides the complete spectrum of information to the customers, at the last mile the customers seek assurance of the deal from their trusted dealer advisors. Interestingly, customers who enquire through our digital channel end up purchasing a car within 10 days. This reaffirms that with a robust online to offline platform executed by a digitally enabled sale sforce, converting digital enquiries into sales becomes easier. Since, the introduction of this new digital channel in 2018, we have witnessed three times increase in digital enquiries and recorded sales of over 200,000 units since April 2019. This digital channel has helped to generate over 21 lakh customer enquiries.”
He added, “We witnessed a two-fold increase in ‘Near Me’ customer searches for Maruti Suzuki dealers. Our investment to create a hyper-local platform is to help customers discover faster and connect to their nearest dealers. This initiative has seen rapid growth in the recent times. In the last two years, we have integrated over 1,000 dealerships across 3,000 online touch-points in this digital transformation journey”
Supported by a strong technology backend and a data-driven hyper-local marketing approach, the new digital sales experience is personalised for one to one communication with Maruti Suzuki customers.
The company says it has built a state-of-the-art technology platform that helps the OEM and dealer websites drive synergy and strengthen localizsed messaging. For this, the OEM has partnered with leading online platforms like Google and Facebook bringing global digital expertise to dealer teams.
Building digital marketing capabilities at the dealer’s end, Maruti Suzuki says it consistently offers training to its dealer partners to upgrade their knowledge of the online platforms. These dedicated digital lead management teams have been trained through regular physical and virtual trainings on the finer nuances of managing the expectations of today’s digital savvy customer.