Automotive manufacturers are focusing on a new source of sales – The Internet. Why? Because consumers dedicate more time researching online at home and on their mobile phones so that they can spend less time in showrooms or dealerships. This is why omnichannel retail is the future of automotive retail.
By the end of 2016, between 50 and 60 percent of sales leads are expected to come through online channels.
Slightly ahead of the game, in November 2014, South Korean automobile giant Hyundai launched a service called Hyundai Rockar, to sell cars online in the UK. In addition to shortening the buyer cycle, another advantage of Internet sales – is having “a dealer online” 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Besides Hyundai, other manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, are also working on solutions to facilitate customers’ ability to make future car purchases via the Internet. For instance, to promote the new Volvo XC90, Hakan Samuelsson (CEO of Volvo Cars Corporation) came up with this original scheme: releasing a limited edition of the 1927 Volvo XC90 First Edition and opened special websites in 29 countries with online sales of these cars. Thanks to these virtual showrooms, all Volvo XC90s sold out within the first 47 hours.
In a recent study the consulting company Frost & Sullivan predicted the future of automotive retail: by 2020 about 5% of all new cars will be sold online.
The future of automotive retail is online
While some car companies are following suit, others open large flagship stores in the central part of big cities (such as Daimler and BMW in London and Paris), or even experience stores, creating the customer experience in the image and likeness of coffee shops. An example would be the Lexus store in Tokyo or the Audi City in London.
Flagship stores are changing usual procedures for selecting and buying cars. The format, size and concept of dealerships are changing. The increasing emphasis is now on the development of advanced all-digital or retail shops in the downtown area, where the potential customers of the brand live and work.
So, is the creation of opportunities to equip and order the dream car during the lunchtime delivered by Amazon in a large cardboard box or using unmanned drones just a question of time? Or soon customers will be free from showrooms and dealers and will buy the next car online? The only thing that is obvious is that the future of automotive retail is digital.
In an attempt to avoid decline, car manufacturers and dealers need to combine their efforts and to ensure the smooth transition from online to offline.
To be successful in selling cars online automotive companies must use different multichannel approaches and solutions.
Whisbi is the only company that provides different channels of communication and better engagement with clients: real time videos, interactive selling platforms, live streaming showrooms, online chat and co-browsing.
Whisbi integrates all of these into one solution, bringing the real showroom experience online, which is the future of automotive retail.
Find out more about how one of our automotive clients has improved its online customer experience and is now selling more.