Hyundai Motor India (HMI) today updated its latest online retail platform – Click to Buy (CTB) – with add-on features such as offering a virtual product experience and an option to get individualised dealer discounting schemes.
The company, which had begun piloting the new digital retail portal way back in December 2019, by moving in the direction of its long-term strategy of shifting a considerable portion of the vehicle sales to the online channels, saw a spike in usage during the nation-wide lock-down in April 2020.
As per the company, CTB has seen 15,000 new customer registrations till date, since its launch earlier this year in March, with a 100 percent month-on-month increase in its usage in April when the entire country was put under a lock-down in prevention to the coronavirus’ spread.
However, being only two-month old, the conversion rate from its “end-to-end integrated” digital platform is pegged between 5-10 percent so far. Out of this, the company has received over 65 percent of the online bookings for its SUV line-up, majorly attributed to the new Creta and the Venue. The Grand i10 Nios, on the other hand, contributed more than 10 percent of all online bookings, thereby, the company seeing a good mix coming from all segments including A-segment models like the Santro and its Aura compact sedan. The company had sold 6,883 units in the domestic market in the month of May after restarting operations at its plants on May 8.
In a virtual press conference today, Hyundai Motor India with its marketing and corporate planning executives introduced the updated ‘Click to Buy 1.5’ platform, as well as shed light on the company’s strategy on digital retail and its focus on building an integrated platform which it claims offers a seamless car-buying experience.
“Given the present scenario, all of a sudden, the digital trend is coming earlier than we expected. But, we do see that in the long-term online sales will become main stream, and so, we remain committed to enhance our focus on digital retail,” said WS Oh, executive director, Corporate Planning, HMI.
With deeper smartphone and Internet penetration in India, the company said going forward, it anticipates as much as 50 percent of all enquiries coming from the online channel in about five years’ time.
An integrated DMS in the back-end
hile India is the third market for Hyundai globally to be offering the online car-buying platform after the Group’s home turf South Korea and Singapore, it is the only geography where it has been able to integrate its entire sales network and offer a convenient purchase option to customers.
As against 40 out of 200 dealers in South Korea and only one dealer being on a similar platform in Singapore, HMI has all of 514 of its dealers all across India linked to the CTB portal, which in essence, integrates a dealer’s back-end sales operations, managed by a dealer management system (DMS) software, and puts it out in front of the customer to be able to liquidate a dealer’s inventory.
“It is the reason why we say that compared to other OEMs, ours is India’s first end-to-end integrated digital retail platform as it reflects the true potential of the digital era and is undoubtedly a one-stop contactless solution for all car-buying needs,” Oh added.
According to its research, Hyundai showcased that around 90 percent of all customers research for their product online and more than 40 percent of them are actually willing to buy their car online. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has given an impetus to zero-contact processes with up to 70 percent customers looking to avoid any physical contact during their purchase process.
The company is primarily targeting young individuals or millenials, who are used to making online purchases on e-commerce websites and says trust and transparency can extrapolate the sales in case of big-ticket purchases as well.
“For online shopping, we believe that trust and reliability of the website are the most crucial aspects. We wanted to build a platform which would assist customers from product discovery right through to the delivery of their new car and we believe that people will continue to buy high-ticket items such as cars online,” said Brijesh Gubbi Suresh, AVP and Group Head, Corporate Planning, New Business Strategy, HMI.
The CTB platform is a digital tool for a Hyundai dealer to better liquidate its inventory as it now gets an additional chance of getting leads directly from the manufacturer’s website. Hyundai says it had to conduct a comprehensive 3-step dealer training to train staffers across India to be able to use the platform seamlessly.
“The basic concept of the CTB is focused towards the dealer. We are not dealing with the OEM inventory, but the dealer inventory.”
“We had to do online training during the lock-down as well and have been sharing a set of FAQs for our dealer partners. In the month of April, we advised all dealer staffers to use the portal in order to get their feedback. We have improvised and launched the CTB 1.5 after getting feedback from around 12,000 sales personnel, customers and colleagues,” Suresh added.
How to buy a car online?
While it has taken care of providing all relevant information relating to a product to facilitate the buyer through his or her discovery phase of the online journey, with the CTB 1.5, Hyundai has now also given the option to compare different models and variants for a customer to arrive at a suitable choice. Customers can also select extended warranty packages and choose to accessorise their car. The various features of the product can be virtually experienced through detailed 360-degree tours and videos.
Moreover, the company has also mapped its entire dealer network online for a customer to manually select a preferred outlet, or also get redirected to the nearest located showroom automatically. Customers can calculate EMI, request for fully-sanitised test-drives at home, put in the request to get the old car exchanged, as well as also apply directly from the Hyundai portal for sanctioning of loan on the new car. The carmaker has currently gone ahead and tied-up with ICICI and HDFC Bank and is in the process to integrate more financiers on the platform.
After creating a profile and logging in into CTB, a buyer can select the colour, variant, transmission and fuel type and book the car online by making payment through an OTP-secured gateway. On the other end, the dealer gets a separate dealer login, which can be used to allocate a relationship manager against a particular booking. The CTB portal also allows a dealer to offer personalised discount over and above the prevalent company offer at any given moment.
The entire deal can be negotiated in a secure fashion with the customer being able to upload the required documents for insurance and registration online and ultimately, making the final payment either through the Hyundai website digitally or by cash or cheque directly to the dealer. The VIN (vehicle identification number) is allotted with a tentative delivery timeframe, after which a customer can pre-schedule the new-car delivery at the showroom, or opt for getting the car delivered at the doorstep.
Hyundai Motor India assures that it is taking all measures to ensure data privacy as it is dealing with sensitive customer data including financial aspects. The company seems to be in this for the long-run with a significantly robust platform already at hand. Now, with a contactless sales procedure as well as a flurry of new launches such as the Verna and the new Creta in place, it will be interesting to see how the Korean carmaker is able to revive the market from being in its shambles at the moment.