The trend towards Omnichannel, which can be observed in other industries, is also evident in the automotive sector. OEMs and traders can learn a lot from the industries that are already more advanced in the digital transformation process.
Consumers are getting cross-linked better and better and have access to up-to-date information such as prices, special offers, tests, etc., which influence their purchasing decision decisively and make it no longer necessary to consult a dealer in the first place. Over the past 12 to 18 months, the number of end-users who have been digitally and mobilely influenced during their car purchase has increased from 40 to 55 percent (Deloitte.com), 75% of the time spent researching for the car purchase is spent online (IHS Automotive Autotrader Automotive Buyer Influence Study, 2015). The digital world is used by consumers as a source of information.
Offline will continue to play an important role, test drives are still an important factor in the purchasing decision - the key to success will lie in the combination of the touchpoints. A virtual tour to experience the new car beforehand and making adjustments to the interior before the car is delivered can be a significant added value and provide greater customer loyalty because the customer feels more comfortable.
The AUDI City Stores in Berlin or London offer the customer a digital configuration of his desired vehicle and even the opportunity to take a seat in it virtually.
Add-ons such as service apps or integrated, digital manuals additionally increase the contact frequency, ensure a more positive and regular brand awareness, and thus help to bind the customer in the long term.
OEMs and traders need to identify the right measures and implement services, in order to adapt to increasingly digitizing customers and to offer the structures that customers are used to from other industries. Data protection plays an important role too, the long-term trust of the customers is as important as regular, high-quality contact with them.