The answer of course will depend upon whether we are talking about next year, in five or ten years’ time.
What’s clear is that as customers online retailing expectations change, and vehicle ownership and usage changes, there will be a need to fulfill expectations and provide the customer journey in many different ways.
Developing a strategy to deal with these different journeys and routes to market needs to consider the following;
- How will you build brand awareness, launch new product and maintain trust?
- How will the role of the traditional Dealership change?
- How will the current sales process, and the role of the sales executive have to change to meet future needs?
- How will you deliver the tactile experience customers want?
- What platforms will you use to deliver the online and digital experience and how will you ensure an integrated omni-channel approach?
- Will it enhance the customer experience?
Ownership of product is changing with more customers ‘purchasing’ through PCP or leasing contracts. Future consideration needs to be given how customers are provided with subscription type mobility packages, providing them with access to multiple types of vehicles as their need changes.
There are numerous routes to market being employed by the OEM’s with variations on themes, and as we move forward there is a need for each OEM and Dealer Network to deliver these routes in an integrated way to be able to reach the wider market. Current routes include;
- Test drive/Experience Centres
- City/Retail Stores
- Online/ Direct to Customer
- Pop up/ Mobile Stores
- Home/office visits
- Each has its own merits, but considered in isolation could not be viewed as either cost effective or fulfilling the customer needs.
Clearly the use of digital technology will have a huge influence on the effectiveness of each route and will help in developing new routes, however we should be careful to ensure that customer journey drives the technology so that it enhances the whole customer experience. Utilising big data, having an integrated CRM system and understanding the power of social media will all help enhance the experience. With customers spending 10-12 hours online researching it is an important part of the process to get right.
The transfer from online to physical is equally as important, getting the tactile and transactional experiences right is crucial to both the sale and to building trust.
To deliver this customer experience, OEM’s and Dealers need to work closely together to be able to deliver an integrated omni-channel customer experience. The journeys will evolve over the next ten years being driven by customer demands, disruptors in the market and technology.
How will you react and deal with these demands and changes, and how will you develop your strategy?