Whether you are a car enthusiast or someone who sees their car as a commodity, whether you are experienced in car buying or newly interested – the buying process is similar for everyone. At the outset, we are faced with a multitude of questions that need to be addressed for each individual. Not only do I have to decide on a make and model, I also have to ask myself whether it should be a new or used car, where I would like to buy the car, how I would like to be advised, whether a test drive is possible and how this can be organized.
In addition, I have to decide on financing: Will it be a cash purchase? Is a leasing or financing option attractive to me? What is a car subscription and could this perhaps be just right for me? The purchase of a car is often a major investment that is made with varying frequency in each individual’s life. However, all interested parties have one thing in common, namely that they have to find an answer to countless questions.
We, the Panoff Consulting Automotive Retail Services team, look at this fact from two perspectives – that of the private customer, who is personally confronted with the same questions, and that of the expert, who looks at the realities of the buying process in a constantly changing industry from a structured point of view.
Since we know that this change requires a change in strategy and processes in automotive retail, we have used these questions in recent months as an opportunity to examine the degree of digitization in both offline and online sales.
We were guided by the following objectives: Exploring the integration of online and offline parameters of the customer journey, benchmarking results and experiences between several top OEMs, collecting real-world examples and insights from the customer perspective, and developing recommendations for OEMs and dealers to improve operations and customer experiences.
After completing our study in October this year, we were delighted to present our findings at the beginning of November in Bremen, Germany, as part of an online event on the topic of “Digitalization in Automotive Retail – Omni-Channel Integration in the Customer Journey.” Our data shows that online sales opportunities are currently limited and that the Customer Journey today is at a digitization level of 52 percent. We see potential in the areas of digital showroom experience, digital interaction between salesperson and buyer, digital sales advice, mobility advice in financial calculations, and opportunities in online configuration.
Our first online event, led by our colleagues Tobias Bald, Lambert Görsdorf and Berend Hoitink, was very well received and we enjoyed lively participation from our valued customers and partners. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their interest and support! As a young and growing team, this event is of great importance to us and motivates us not only to continue with the topic in terms of content but also to benefit from your feedback in the context of such events – whether it is online or onsite.
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