More than a year after the start of the pandemic, there is no doubt that consumer habits have changed and the rules of the game for industries as well, including the automotive industry. According to a report by Kantar guidance on Google ArgentinaDuring 2020, consumer loyalty to automotive companies decreased, and they are demanding greater agility from the industry in adapting to their needs.
This report raises the challenge and, at the same time, the opportunity that automakers have to meet the expectations of their users, through an improvement in the digital experience of the entire purchase process.
According to the report, lhe automotive industry is faced with the challenge of digitizing the entire car sale process, not only to adapt to people's new habits, but also because they expect an evolution towards a more digital and improved purchasing process: more than half of the respondents (54%) who bought a car during 2020, today would buy it online. What's more, one third (33%) admit that while they would not do so now, they hope to be able to buy a car through a digital channel in the future. This implies that there are high digital expectations on the part of consumers for the near future.
While 95% of Argentine car buyers already investigate online, all stages of the buying process have an opportunity for improvement: respondents consider that the most difficult aspects when buying a 0km car are procedures and patents (39%), negotiating the best price (36%), deciding what buy car (29%), understand the savings plan (26%), and choose where to buy the car (26%).
“For some years now, we have seen how the online channel grew a lot in the industry. However, the opportunity today is to achieve a digital adaptation of the entire purchase process, which involves both prior research and procedures during purchase and post-sale. For this, it is essential to apply technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, optimization and automatic data update, among others ”, said Hernan Giambastini, Commercial Director for the automotive industry of Google Argentina.
“We are at a time when the Argentine market has at its disposal several technological tools that can allow them to improve the shopping experience and, in this way, meet the high expectations of consumers. At Google, we propose to develop five key pillars to achieve a homogeneous and easy-to-implement digitization throughout the car buying process ”, Giambastiani explains.
The five pillars to which the executive refers contemplate these fundamental questions: The times and the available stock must be visible, the price and financing must be clear and understandable, the detail of the product must allow to analyze, configure and compare, customer service must be impeccable in all channels of interaction with the brand and the added value that makes the difference with the competition.
TIMES AND STOCK: According to a Google survey, What bothers users the most when buying a car are the long delivery times, that they do not have the color they want and that they tell them that they have to order the car. This means that increasingly, buyers will demand tools that generate visibility, such as automatic updates on the status of the purchase, etc. During 2020, tracking code searches exploded and remained 150% up.
PRICE AND FINANCING: 94% of those surveyed declare that achieving the best price is the most important moment of all when buying a car, and that is why they contact the concessionaire to find out (43%), with a deep previous investigation in the Search Engine to estimate scenarios and prepare for that conversation.
PRODUCT DETAIL: 80% of respondents are interested in testing tools and technologies in their purchasing process, for example, a car configurator to personalize it with different colors or accessories; take a photo of a car and show related products; virtual showrooms; a function that shows the detail about objects to which it is pointed; virtual reality that shows the car in 3D; among others.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Buyers expect good service throughout the interaction with the brand, including after-sales: 92% of those surveyed say that obtaining the best after-sales service is the most important thing for Argentine car buyers. “In this sense, it is essential for brands and concessionaires to be able to give a quick and efficient response to customers who inquire through digital means. The battle for the sale today is also played in the online channel ”, Giambastiani explained.
THE ADDED VALUE: Automotive companies can add value in those aspects that are more difficult when choosing a car, or that generate discomfort in the buying experience. Estimate the patent and insurance value of the car; know if spare parts are easy to get; and understanding the possibility of reselling a car, are the three main difficulties that buyers have.
“Although during 2020 and 2021 Argentines and many industries adapted to an increasingly digital life and way of working, there is still a long way to go. As the Google Argentina report indicates, in the case of the automotive industry, much of the car buying process is not yet digitized and, increasingly, buyers are demanding a 100% online experience. This implies a business opportunity for the industry, which has not yet been exploited ”, Giambastiani concluded.