Digital Automotive Trends for 2020

We mixed research, experience and automotive statistics to obtain five digital trends. May they be useful for your strategy and future plans.

Auto e-commerce becomes an important sales channel

By taking their business online, automotive players can shorten the purchase funnel of their customers. It’s easier to sell a car, when the customer already decided on, at home, while browsing online, before arriving at the dealership. It’s even easier if they can buy the car online.

In the awareness phase, we can help the customer with information about the sales process, trade-in valuation, product information as well as availability of cars. Visual is important as well. Watch time of “test drive” videos on YouTube has grown by more than 65% in the past two years.

The consideration phase consists of detailed information about the cars and immersive digital experiences. 64% of shoppers who watch online videos to inform their purchase say new formats like 360° video would convince them to buy a car without a test drive. The addition of Internet finance calculator and online test drive planner can come in handy to further push the client along the pipeline.

For the decision phase, we should look at ways to either sell or at least gain a firm decision from potential customers. This can be achieved by creating e-commerce platforms where you take a downpayment or even the full sum upfront.

Case study:

Dacia Romania decided to explore online sales so we helped them create their e-commerce platform for online vehicle reservation. In the first month of launch, 200 cars were reserved and sold.
Online platform for a complete car buying experience | Dacia | Automotive e-commerce

Smart features need smarter presentations

Automotive manufacturers are investing continuously in their infotainment and smart features and they are not the only ones. Players such as Google and Apple have created Android Auto and CarPlay so we can be sure that future cars will be “smart cars”. 

A challenge though is to showcase these features in a way that catches the customers attention. As we stated above, customers spend ~10 hours on the web for product and dealership information and visual content is an important part of the marketing experience. 

Your customer wants to be informed and also “fall in love” before making a decision. By connecting the visuals, language and the features offered by the car, we can offer the customer a full view of your product, without needing to see a physical one. 

Case study

When we created, we made sure to display the best of its new features by a stylish and intuitive website. Now any customer interested in Renault’s Clio, can have an overview of the car, make an informed decision and also “fall in love”.


More transparency in the offering and up-selling process

Activities such as offering and upselling, traditionally done by salespeople, are gradually replaced by digital offer builders and finance calculators. From digital platforms, customers can pick various packages that fit their needs, at their own pace, without the stress of a face-to-face meeting.

When you offer more transparency you also gain the trust of the customer. 80% of the people will come with their own customized offer created online. The other 20% that want something more specific can be handled by your salesforce. This way you use people where they are best, in handling the non-standard requests.

Case study:

If you want to see a financial calculator and offer builder, check-out Renault Romania’s finance calculator. As a potential car buyer, you can choose your desired car, maintenance package, number of installments and get a financial offer on the spot. This frees the salesperson from repetitive information requests and brings qualified clients instead of clueless prospects.


Bringing business after the sale with self-serve platforms

What happens with the car after the customer buys it. This is a question answered by automakers and dealers alike with the development of maintenance platforms where customers can do several activities such as scheduled maintenance, download invoices, read car documentation and get personalized offers based on their car age, model and version.

Still don’t think that after-sales are worth the effort? According to studies done by Google, The No. 2 influence on brand loyalty — after the sales experience — is a customer’s maintenance and service experience and  25% of all automotive searches are related to parts, service, and maintenance.

If you plan to invest more into after-sales you should know that search is the first place people turn when they need auto maintenance information quickly and 65% of people who took their vehicle in for service first heard about the service center through video. Also, you should use advanced features like call buttons in search because over 50% of auto parts and service shoppers who use mobile search call the service provider directly from a search result.

Case study:

We built for Renault Romania a platform that showcases and offers clients the possibility to buy roadside assistance services. You can do all the processes online, manage your account and have access to useful information anytime.


Customer experience dictates digital-first marketing

Customer experience remains an area of focus where businesses can still improve. The good news is that with new technologies we can gather real-time insights on customer data, and systematically develop new customer experiences. Through a complete view of the customer, we can increase the level and quality of engagement.

Dealerships are no longer the main source of information for people to compare makes, models, and prices. According to Google’s study, 95% of vehicle buyers use digital as a source of information. Also, an EY publication, Automotive retail 2030 stated that customers spend ~10 hours on the web for product and dealership information

At the same time, more than 80% of dealers do not plan to expand their online presence by 2020. This is an opportunity for smart marketing managers to move fast and be a step ahead of the competition.

With help from digital agencies, you can build your digital presence and have an immersive digital customer experience. This ensures that the 10-hour research done on the web by potential clients aims to your digital assets and not the competition. 

Case study:

To offer a better customer experience Renault Romania went through a whole transformation process. These updates also included their website. We helped them migrate from the old website to a new one. In the process, we updated the visual identity and modified the content to embrace a vibrant and connected language reflecting their brand personality.



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