Significant product development, primarily driven through connected car and electrification (EV) are providing car manufacturers with an opportunity to add value to customers far beyond the initial vehicle sale. These ongoing interactions which should be retained by the car manufacturer, are much richer and the data produced can be used to drive loyalty and sales.
Technology bundled with services
Changes in Automotive are not only being driven by external environmental factors, but there is currently a step change with the product itself that will change how customers interact with and therefore perceive their vehicle. The new breed of electrified, connected, more autonomous vehicles all need a level of ongoing communication with the customer. Putting some of the focus on services and away from the technology will help change the landscape for car manufacturers and we have clear examples of brands such as Apple who have embraced the evolution from product manufacturer into fully omnichannel retailers to great effect.
Commoditised products with focus on value added services
With cars increasingly becoming a commodity, the addition of added value services can increase profits and help build better long term customer relationships. This produces a rich stream of data that can be mined to understand the customer preferences and identify potential buying signals. This will create significant short term revenue streams such as paying for new features, identifying more accurately when and what servicing is required, in addition to creating opportunities for making the car sale more timely and personalised.
Car as the next mobile phone
The car is clearly on the same trajectory as our mobile phone - core technology that is disposable every 24 months and software updated periodically with new features and benefits. The growing expectation is for connected EV cars to be updated ‘Tesla style’ throughout the relationship of the contract. This is not a great leap, as in the UK, where there are more mobile subscriptions than inhabitants (75M vs 66M), you can already choose to use your 'disposable' £100 to 'buy' a car or a mobile phone. However, whilst the principle is readily accepted, the specific challenges posed by a significantly more expensive piece of technology need to be addressed.
The car as a piece of technology is changing more rapidly than at any previous time. Many of these developments demand ongoing interaction with the owner and so have created opportunities to develop a new range of added value services. Car manufacturers should use these opportunities to redefine their value chain, extending beyond product by including services where they add value. Assisted Selling provides the six basic pillars required to respond to this situation and an approach to attract the people and processes to make it happen.