Fuel for Thought: Incorporating Consumer Expectations in the post-COVID-19 Retail Experience


Automotive Monthly Newsletter and Podcast
This month’s theme: Incorporating Consumer Expectations in the
post-COVID-19 Retail Experience

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As the pandemic took hold and brought the automotive industry to
a crawl, we surveyed dealers globally to understand the challenges
they were facing, the adaptations they were making real-time to
their business models and their expectations as the pandemic
subsides. 80% of the dealers surveyed adapted their business with
creative delivery ideas, increasing pickup and drop-off services,
staggering customer service times and implementing new dealership
processes to adhere to strict social distancing. Looking past the
immediate impact to their business, to a post-COVID-19 environment,
65% of dealers expect accelerated development of online vehicle
sales and booking platforms — allowing more or all the vehicle
purchase process to be conducted online.

In addition to understanding the challenges faced by the
dealerships, we wanted to comprehend how the pandemic impacted
customers who purchased a vehicle and conduced the 2020 Vehicle
Buyer Journey. We surveyed customers across seven countries who
purchased new and used vehicles from a dealership during their
respective quarantine periods — dimensioning the purchase
process whether they were able to conduct their transaction online,
partially online, or at the dealership. Capturing customer
preferences, areas to focus on process improvements and
expectations on their future transactions. Like the dealers,
customers are expecting changes to the purchase process for their
next vehicle, 62% agree or strongly agree expect simplified
processes at the dealership while the 46% tha agree or strongly
agree expect to be able to complete their entire transaction
online.

As the customers move toward an omnichannel journey,
manufacturers and dealers will need to evaluate modern retail
formats. Online retail will pose a challenge in certain established
markets, such as the United States, where franchise laws vary by
state and may currently prohibit online transactions. More
contemporary markets, such as China, have developed their retail
models to allow for a traditional tactile experience with temporary
showrooms and service drop-off stations. Customers and dealers’
expectations are aligned — online retail, while expedited by
the pandemic — is here to stay and adaptation of the retail
network is imminent.


Dive deeper

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Understanding the 2020 Vehicle Buyer
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Posted 20 October 2020 by Melanie Erff, Associate Director, Automotive Advisory Services

and



Mike Wall, Director, Automotive Analysis, IHS Markit

and



Tanja Linken, Executive Director – Automotive Dealer Network Development, IHS Markit





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