3 minute read 30 Apr 2020
Digital Transformation In The Automotive Industry

Is it time for the invisible car salesman to become the new normal?

By Vinay Raghunath

EY India Consulting AMI Leader

Passionate about Automotive, Industrial and Consumer Goods. Experience in route-to-market, supply chain, post-merger integration, digital and analytics. Squash player. Curious about Indian history.

3 minute read 30 Apr 2020
Related topics Automotive Mobility COVID-19

Automobile retail has never felt the need for digitalization so strongly.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has crippled the automotive businesses, supply chains and demand all over the world. Recovery from this turbulent phase should be a well-thought out process, as organizations also need to work on crisis management and building resilience to prepare for such events in the future. In such a scenario, digital is emerging as the universal hero across industries.

Post the COVID-19 crisis, there is no denying that customers would lean further towards online and contactless modes of purchasing. Vehicles may very well fall in the same category too. While Indians are already more inclined towards researching online while buying cars, online sales, itself is a rare phenomenon due to limited awareness, options and flexibility.

Today, some parts of the consumer’s passenger car purchase journey such as a pre-test drive and consumer touchpoints have already migrated to an online ecosystem. There is a segment of consumers preferring ‘contactless’ digital touchpoints in their purchase journey like comparison, consultation, selection and booking, which need to be seamlessly enabled by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), aggregators and dealerships. However, the final purchase step involving negotiation, financing and registration is still not a completely contactless process.

This report explores a true contactless car sales channel, and how the various ecosystem players can provide integrated digital offerings across the awareness, consideration and purchase phases of car purchase. This will have multiple benefits for customers in terms of ease of information access and seamless contactless interactions. The OEMs, dealers and BFSI companies will benefit from the data and insights that will be captured along this digital journey.

Digital Transformation Trends In The Automotive Industry

However, despite the increased need for digitalization, the role of dealerships will not get diluted as some customers would still visit them for test drives or final purchase. Dealerships will continue to remain the link between OEMs and customers. An integrated ‘phygital’ platform with a digitally enabled agile salesforce will become a critical success criterion to tap into select consumer segments. OEMs and dealers can plan their retail strategy in stages for a seamless transformation.

A contactless purchase journey could be a win-win situation for customers, OEMs and dealers. Digital heavy processes offering flexibility in consumer connect supported by lean dealer operations is bound to become the new normal in the near future. Every player in the auto industry must invest ahead of the curve to keep pace with changing consumer dynamics.
Vinay Raghunath
EY India Consulting AMI Leader

Summary

“The Invisible Salesman” can become a reality in India if all players in the ecosystem come together to redefine the automotive retail journey. While for the customer, it will be yet another product that they can buy online - Anytime, Anywhere.

About this article

By Vinay Raghunath

EY India Consulting AMI Leader

Passionate about Automotive, Industrial and Consumer Goods. Experience in route-to-market, supply chain, post-merger integration, digital and analytics. Squash player. Curious about Indian history.

Related topics Automotive Mobility COVID-19