What Role Will Digitalization Play in the Industry’s Evolution?Sat, 09/01/2018 - 11:53
Sales strategies are changing as customers become more digitally oriented. Almost every sales process starts online when the client searches for the product, its characteristics and even reviews from fellow users. This process is impacting vehicle sales, aftersales services and even the aftermarket, which means companies must adapt or face obsolescence. Although it is already a global trend, digitalization is still in its early stages in Mexico when it comes to sales. Mexico Automotive Review asked different players for their views and what risks they foresee for companies that do not embrace this change.
Through digitalization, clients will be able to manage their vehicle purchases independently. This, in turn, will transform the role of salespeople, managers and even the entire distribution network. As providers of financing solutions, our role is now to educate clients on how to become part of the banked population, how to contract the most appropriate financing products and how these will work. Scotiabank is advancing significantly and should be considered a booster of digitalization in the banking segment. More than a year ago we created Digital Factory as a center of technology development focused on digital banking. This area is now in charge of transforming our business from a traditional model to address the mobile world. We take this project seriously and we do not consider it just one more division of Scotiabank.
Companies that fail to embrace digitalization will become obsolete. One in every three dealerships will cease to exist in the future because those that learn how to take advantage of digitalization will gain a greater market share and absorb their competitors. Digitalization is a highly complex subject with many different perspectives that include car-sharing, electrification and new sales strategies. We are constantly telling our clients they must embrace the change and do not just sit and wait to see what happens in the market. Companies must consolidate their different client management systems to get real insights into the data they are generating. Enriched with this and more information, companies can predict a lot in terms of turnover times and market trends thus targeting the customer more efficiently and effectively.
AXA is committed to innovation and digitalization. Yet, we participate in an industry where sales are mostly completed through human interaction. In general, the insurance market is not considered the most innovative sector but we are constantly working to improve our digital communication with the client. Digitalization is still not seen as an added value that can change a client’s preference for one company to another. Most innovations are still peripherals that enhance the user experience in some way but that have no real impact on the insurance coverage. If no company embraced digitalization, the risk would be minimal, at least until companies like Amazon start to participate in the industry. That being said, digitalization conveys a better image to the client.
Demand is greater and younger generations are now looking for us online. According to our latest statistics, Hankook is the best-selling tire brand online in Mexico, practically doubling the sales of our closest competitor. Today, between 30 and 32 percent of all tires sold digitally are Hankook, which equates to approximately 3 percent of our total sales. This market has grown rapidly and clients can find the tire they need by make and vehicle model and they can choose between our Hankook and Laufenn brands. My personal goal is to grow our digital operations to 10-12 percent of our total sales by the end of 2019.
Carlos López de Nava
We have measured the impact of our digital strategies since 2015. Approximately 2-3 percent of our leads originated from these campaigns in 2015 but now the percentage is over 15 and we expect it to keep growing. Our priority is to improve our response times because there are dealerships that take days to answer a digital query. This is not good because the client wants immediate service with a maximum of 15 minutes of waiting time. According to our CRM provider SICOP, two of every 10 clients that write to the dealership are going to buy in the end and yet, we are not giving this the importance it should have in our operations. The dealerships with the fastest response times through digital channels will survive in the end.
Companies that fail to embrace digitalization are doomed to disappear. Visits to dealerships are decreasing and clients that do come have already done the research on the model they want. Companies that fail to include digitalization in their strategy will gradually lose market share, even if their dealerships enjoy the best strategic location. We are improving our databases and ensuring our digital center standardizes operations for both the new and used-vehicle sales segments. Moreover, we are now growing the digital center to manage our aftersales operations and offer service reminders to clients while marketing other special promotions.
It is all about traffic and exposure. Clients used to visit eight dealerships on average before purchasing their vehicle. Now, that number has narrowed to two. Dealerships no longer receive as many people as they used to, which means they need to find new channels to reach their customers. Today, when clients start their search process, their first point of contact with the available car offering is online. Interest in purchasing a vehicle is still there but companies need to understand that the clients’ mindset has changed. Mercado Libre’s Motors Classifieds division alone generates 20 million visits per month from at least 7 million unique users. In comparison, a dealership’s website receives approximately 20,000 visits per month.
We see the digital experience as an opportunity for the whole market. Even though some products might not be sold digitally, their marketing will certainly be digital. New generations see digital presence as a priority and companies that do not take this into consideration will face many challenges, especially if they participate in a volume market such as automotive. Particularly in this market, we have found that digitalization has been a critical factor in raising awareness about the importance of having insurance, mainly with clients who do not realize how costly an accident can be.