Automotive brands today are dealing with the changing expectations of millennials and other on-trend customers who are looking for other ways of buying a car and a better online customer experience. ŠKODA UK was looking to increase their online sales leads and improve how they connect with their customers while they shop or research online on multiple devices. The latter is especially important as Autotrader’s Car Buyer of the Future Study revealed that 42% of car buyers today use multiple devices to shop for a car and this number will increase to 80% by 2020. Online research, online deal-building and the desire to begin the financial process online have become the new standards in automotive and ŠKODA UK was eager to start interactions with customers earlier in the decision making journey and to do this online.
The Skoda Live Tour, powered by Whisbi, is a Conversational Marketing platform that includes a one-to-many live video feature to take customers through a 360-degree tour of vehicles in Skoda’s line-up. The Live Tour has a full-time team of seven (manager, supervisor and five product hosts) and prospective customers can use the service between 11 am and 9 pm on weekdays and between 11 am to 7 pm on the weekend.
The brand launched their new car, the ŠKODA Kodiaq, supported by the Digital Showroom, to enhance the customer experience through the website. By visiting the applicable web pages an automated message appears in the bottom corner. If the web visitor would like to see the car live and talk to a product Host, they can be quickly connected to one, by entering their phone number or calling the provided ŠKODA UK agent number.
The Live Tour has become a multi-use platform for the brand, not only for showcasing existing vehicles but using it as a tool to unveil new cars before they reach retailers. Towards the end of 2017 the brand also placed the Karoq in the Live Tour a full three months before it went into retailers.
From this initial first-view period of the Karoq, nearly 20% of hand raisers that came through the Live Tour have been converted into sales.
ŠKODA UK told us that online visitors engaging through the Conversational Marketing platform are usually at an early stage of the buying process and aren’t quite ready to take the step to visit a dealership. But the ones that are ready to test drive are offered one at a dealership of their choosing, and also given a date and time if they are in a position to commit.
ŠKODA UK was able to achieve great results by implementing Whisbi’s Conversational Marketing platform on their website!
“Since launch, the conversion from Live Tour visits to test drive requests has been 38%, but we have seen a steady uplift in these numbers since January, with 48% going on to book a test drive in the first quarter of this year. From a test drive, we have seen a healthy 10% go on to buy.” – John French, ŠKODA UK Head of Sales Operations
Since the launch, the conversion from Live Tour visits to test drive requests has been 38%, but the brand saw a steady uplift in these numbers since January, with 48% going on to book a test drive in the first quarter of this year. From a test drive, the brand reported that a healthy 10% go on to buy!
Also, the customers have reacted well to Live Tour, tracking at a 95% positive customer satisfaction score!
The biggest challenge for the brand was managing customers from the digital world to the dealer network. Customers now get a confirmation email of the time and date of their test drive with their chosen dealership within an hour of completing their digital tour. It’s this speed where ŠKODA UK can see the biggest success in terms of sales conversion. Once an electronic lead has been generated, Skoda’s Live Tour Hosts call the relevant dealership to make them aware of the lead and to make sure each customer is contacted within an hour.
Fig. 2 - Skoda's Digital Showroom in the UK
The way customers are interacting with dealerships is changing and the Live Tour plays a key part in the research phase so that when a customer does visit a dealership, many of their questions may have been answered before they take a test drive. The types of requests for information have spanned from wanting to know if one of Škoda’s models is going to fit with the customers’ lifestyles, to asking for advice about fitting child seats or getting a demo of how the infotainment system works.
This new innovative way of interacting with customers also helped the brand to differentiate from its competitors by offering engaging online customer experience, which ultimately helped them to better meet customers needs and generate better-qualified leads for their dealership network.
Click here to enter the ŠKODA UK Live Tour.
Fig. 3 - Exclusive Interview with ŠKODA UK's Digital Experience Manager
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