Channel Experimentation in the Automotive sector – Disruption or Opportunity?

The automotive sector has been at the forefront of change and disruption whether that be caused by new government legislation, the potential loss of free trade caused by a No Deal Brexit or new market entrants. 

Some experts describe what is happening as ‘complete dislocation!’  However, arguably the biggest external factor driving change is new technology and digital platforms coupled with consumers’ changing buyer behaviour and enhanced expectations of how they want to experience a car brand.

In a recent article for AM Online, Russell Puttick, VP of customer and strategy at CDK Global commented on the five key trends that will change the face of the automotive sector, one of which was around Channel Experimentation, with car brands seeking ways to hyper personalise and exceed customer expectations.

Russell said: “I doubt there is a car company out there today that isn’t looking for ways of reaching the consumer directly.  Many are already trialling experimental sales techniques, from pop-up stores through to a complete digitised subscription service.  The challenge for OEMs has been with delivery and servicing – the ‘last mile’ of the car ownership journey.” 

Today’s consumer economy is more digitally connected than ever before and things like technology, personalisation and convenience are driving loyalty.  Being seen as innovative is critical for success in today’s market and so the pressure is on for car brands to deliver.  There is no cause for complacency as they must now connect the emotional and rational, with the ‘Show vs. Tell’ mantra more crucial and relevant than ever before.

As well as delivering on consumer wishes for an aspirational, tech-enhanced life (the ‘emotional’ side of the equation) companies have to ensure that they deliver a consistent, quality experience that actually works (the ‘rational’ side of the equation). To do this, it’s essential that brands put the customer – not the tech – at the centre of decisions, something the automotive industry has traditionally struggled with.

We are seeing an increasing amount of enquiries from dealers, workshops, fast fits and parts suppliers looking at new and innovative ways of utilising technology to enhance their customer service, get them closer to the customer and ultimately help them grow and remain relevant.  With disruption comes opportunity and so car brands must respond to the changing market conditions, listen carefully to the customer and respond accordingly – always going the extra mile!

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