Former Director of Marketing in several European countries then Director of Operations & Customer Relations at Nissan Europe, Guillaume Langle, Global Automotive & Mobility Practice Leader at Comdata, talks about his vision on the evolution of the automotive sector.
What is the current landscape of the automotive sector?
GL: The model built since the beginning of the automotive industry is based on a partnership between manufacturers and their networks of vendors, independent contractors, where the customer experience takes place. The manufacturer only has feedback from the dissatisfied customer at his dealer or his car. At the same time, other players are involved in the customer journey, such as banks, insurers and other post -sale services. Finally, the local reputation of the dealership is very important in achieving the overall performance of the brand.
And what about the connected car?
GL: Three new technologies are changing this paradigm: electrification, driver assistance systems and the connected car. Electrification can reduce the cost of maintenance with lower sales of spare parts. Driving assistance systems are a remarkable step forward for our society thanks to the reduction in the number and severity of accidents, but they also have a reduced impact on the sale of body parts. These technologies affect the turnover of manufacturers and retailers.
The connected car is changing the distribution paradigm. This allows auto manufacturers, thanks to auto data, to have a direct link to the end customer and thus offer him or her additional services. For example, a warranty extension offer or customer contact after being found is a bit of a shock. The manufacturer has now gained insight into the lives and behaviors of its customers, taking away part of relationship control from the hands of vendors.
With the new on-board technologies, you can add digital (apps), online payment, personalize offers and you can expect the role of the vendor to improve in the coming years.
At the same time, have we seen the evolution of the use of movement?
GL: So, in the past, we bought a car. From now on, we no longer have to be owners to move around. Few young people in metropolitan areas have passed their driver’s license. They favor public transportation, carpooling, they telecommute, and for those with a driver’s license, they rent for short periods and choose to rent. At the same time, applications respond to these tools, by combining different modes of transport. Today, there are subscriptions for all sorts of products and services. Why not a subscription for the car, as is the case with electric scooters and bicycles?
What is the impact of digital on pre-sales?
GL: Twenty years ago, a customer visited several showrooms before buying a car. Now he visits one, if any. According to a study conducted by Google on ways to buy a car, 67% say they are willing to buy without trying, having only seen videos of bloggers on social networks. Now, even if manufacturers are still investing millions of euros in media to increase their popularity, they need to identify themselves thanks to their platforms and digital tools to help the customer with his decision and process. his purchase.
What is the role of Comdata in this new situation?
GL: Comdata already works with many automotive brands in standard customer service, lead generation, social media moderation, but also for online auto marketing. We support them through a digital sales system that accompanies the customer from A to Z, and this, in two aspects: the person, to build a privileged relationship, and the technology, that allows management in order, stock visibility and seller follow-up. Thanks to innovative digital technology, the adviser can “push” the right page of the manufacturer’s site to his online customer, check with him that the options are selected, help him configure the car and comfort him with his order . Similarly, the advisor may include a finance manager or the sales representative of a concession.