Even as 2020 is in its sixth month, few car makers or their dealers would have envisioned at the start of the year the massive change that would envelope them or that the car-buying experience would change dynamically.
In the new world of 'social distancing', vehicle manufacturers and their dealers, sitting on expensive real estate, will have to rethink their retail strategies as customers will prefer to click-and-order as against visiting a brick-and-mortar showroom. OEMs will have to activate e-commerce capabilities, train their staffers and dealers in going paperless and ensure that the customer continues to be pampered, albeit in a different manner: remotely.
Other than the actual test drive, at the customer's house or office, the dealer will have to rejig several operations. From facilitating vehicle pick-up and drop service through to over-the-air software updates, to predictive maintenance apps, customers will benefit from a wide variety of tailor-made offerings.
Till some years ago, the process of purchasing a new vehicle involved trips to the dealership, test drives, and negotiations over price, features, and warranties. The notion of driving away with your new car at the end of the day seemed insurmountable. In the pre-Covid-19 recent past, automotive retail was moving to a more personalised, digital retail experience. The intent? Satisfy the consumer and sell more vehicles in less time using integrated technology. Post-pandemic, this will be a requirement for OEM and dealership success.
So, how does technology impact that transformation, and how do slower adopters catch up? Luxury and mass market vehicle manufacturers are already providing a platform to order and book a car with the touch of a finger. The race for a digital, online presence has just begun. Researchers will capture intelligence to further enrich the online retail and after-sales experiences. With the growing amount of product information, research and reviews available online – how will automotive companies extend the ‘Touch & Feel’ online? The path to purchase will continue to be influenced by digital enablers. Some customer segments will prefer a virtual path; from awareness to closure, including post-sales experiences.
Tune in to the virtual conference this Friday
To discuss and debate just this, Autocar Professional is hosting a virtual conference titled ‘Future of Automotive Retail – Inspiring Digital Experience For Virtual Engagement' this Friday (June 26) at 2:45 pm. The panellists comprise:
- Dominic Kurtaz, CEO, Dassault Systèmes 3DEXCITE
- Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Divion, Mahindra & Mahindra
- Tarun Garg, Director, Sales & Marketing, Hyundai Motor India
- Vivek Srivatsa, Head – Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors
- Ashish Kale, President, FADA
- Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India
Register yourself for this must-attend virtual conference.