Mobility partners. Accelerating towards a sustainable future
How to use digitisation to give your users a head start
In the next decade the automotive sector will face greater changes than at any time in the last hundred years. As societies change it may be more appropriate to shift the conversation towards 'mobility’. Cars and the question of how we use them, and how we fuel them is constantly evolving. What the car really means is still up for debate. Do we really need to own cars? Will future generations even want cars? Social, peer to peer and other car sharing options and flexible taxi services provide innovative, cost-effective mobility solutions.
Changes that have already taken place have created major challenges for car manufacturers and their partners. It’s not only the EU's ambitions to limit emissions and improve air quality that have forced them to innovate and think green. Many brands have already committed to halting production of traditionally fuelled vehicles in the future. Plug-in hybrid and fully electric models are becoming the norm, while changes to the infrastructure to support these changing needs are still under construction. Consumers are uncertain, watching technological developments. Car manufacturers don’t have the luxury of patience. They have to constantly reinvent their offer, supporting their traditional sales and after-sales models with enhanced digital services. Customers expect the same levels of service, care and proactive communication as is the norm in other sectors. Apps and digital platforms mean that contact can largely be automated, which means that every issue doesn’t lead to the dealer’s forecourt.
Today, creating and connecting enduring emotions like loyalty and trust with automotive brands is more complicated than in the past. It’s not just the established car brands competing for users’ attention, its leasing companies, mobility organisations and mobility sharing services. They are always ready and keen to fill any gaps in the market that they can exploit. They can switch and adapt their approaches quickly, but as relative newcomers, they have to invest more to build brand value. Who will win the battle for the car user’s attention? It won’t necessarily be the manufacturer that produces the best car. It’s more likely to be the player that offers them the best and most practical mobility solutions. Solutions that can be easily accessed and align with their values while fulfilling their daily needs, have the greatest chance of future success.
Car sales are transforming
The traditional sales model of passenger cars is under pressure and it’s widely predicted that it will disappear completely in the not-too-distant future. Today, dealers still buy cars in roughly the same way as they always have, buying cars from the brand’s exclusive importer, and then reselling them to the end customer from their showrooms. In the future, when consumers buy cars online, directly from the manufacturer, dealers will have to shift their focus to advice, software and firmware updates, delivery, and maintenance. Several brands have already taken this path and it is expected that this will soon become the norm across the European car market.
How can you get the consumer on your side?
Create a seamless (digital) experience
Keep your customers informed via digital platforms and proactively offer practical and accessible solutions. Interactions with the automotive industry have to be easy and presented in an intuitive, accessible way. Booking a service appointment with the dealer should be as easy as selecting a movie on Netflix or ordering a pizza. The physical and social should be integrated into smart digital solutions. Working from the assumption that your user’s time is as precious as your own, means it’s worthwhile to find ways to make using your services more flexible and convenient. Use the intimacy provided by the app to make sure the reception and the experience is aligned with the brand promise, that’s communicated through the digital platforms.
Prioritise and elevate the customer experience
Buying a car is rarely just a rational decision, for some it’s also an emotional purchase. The car or mobility solution can assume a special place in the landscape of the user’s everyday life. Contact moments should be personalised, online chats should be driven by data and results. The corporate website has to be integrated with other digital services and satisfy user demands, whether it’s being used to book a test drive or arrange after-sales services. The potential for innovation and improvement, for the addition and integration of extra mobility services should not be underestimated.
Focus on experience
Car users expect every mobility brand to present the product range and services on their own exclusive digital platforms. This can be at brand level, model level, or personalised with user data to create a bespoke and targeted customer profile. Innovative brands are building new service and experience centres around their own branded charging infrastructure.
Do you want to work with iO?
Our experts would love to talk to you about offering more quality in mobility services.
Are the car’s days numbered?
Mobility is at a tipping point. Demographic shifts are starting to have a real impact. For older generations the car is a necessity, and they are experienced in managing the rapid depreciation of their asset. Younger generations are more interested in shared cars and private leasing. Business lease car users are driven by an entirely different set of expectations and assumptions. Mobility partners, car manufacturers and dealers are working hard to keep their customers happy. The ability to innovate without alienating established customer bases will be a critical success factor in the decades to come.
How does iO work?
We understand the mobility sector’s needs. For us, the development of new services and platforms goes hand in hand with brand communication and the creation of content that really touches consumers. Our approach considers current and future EU regulations and creates flexible solutions that fit with our client’s long-term ambitions and existing systems. Our experts turn strategic recommendations into concrete and visible actions or campaigns. We can help to transform your digital services and make your business a successful digital mobility partner.
4 pillars that every mobility partner can build on.
1. Rethink your service model
Think big, innovate, expand. Don’t restrict your brand’s impact and creativity by limiting your offer to just the car, consider mobility subscriptions, for example, in combination with other means of transport. This can be charging network subscriptions, access to shared car services, access to larger vehicles or even access to other mobility providers.
2. Work on responsiveness and flexibility
Take a real interest in your user’s interests. What are they talking about, what are their expectations, what do they hope that future mobility developments will mean for them? Start conversations, gather data, and use this information to innovate.
3. Build a love brand.
Make your products and services so attractive and make every interaction enjoyable so that your customers want to become ambassadors. Dare to innovate and deviate from the consensus. Defy expectations and create space for your users to share their love for your brand.
4. Rely on strong IT architecture
Well-thought-out IT architecture is essential. Choose future-proof technology that gives you the freedom to integrate new apps and add extra services without ever becoming unmanageable.