The changed customer: the pervasiveness of digital services, enhanced and multiplied by the spread of mobile connections, has radically transformed the relationship with brands and their products in every sector and market, including the automotive industry. The Best Customer Experience 4.0 (BCE4.0) strategy is the way in which Mercedes responds to this change, developing new digital solutions that integrate with traditional ones to meet the changing needs of the public.

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A digital transformation process of the entire sales and after-sales system that has already started in Germany for years, but which is now expanding into 40 markets and is experiencing a new, strong acceleration due to the coronavirus epidemic, which has forced manufacturers and dealers to review every aspect of the relationship with the customer in the name of security and social distancing. The pandemic forced us to put the safety of our customers and employees at the top of the priorities – confirms Britta Seeger, Head of Marketing & Sales for Mercedes-Benz Cars -, but to develop new digital solutions and adapt quickly to changing customer needs part of the BCE4.0 strategy for some time.

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For example, the recent opening confirms it of the Online Showroom of Mercedes-Benz Italy, the digital showcase on all cars available for immediate delivery within the network of Italian dealers. A service created in synergy with the dealer network in the area, thanks to which the customer can search and compare the availability of cars quickly and easily, but also request a quote, start a personalized negotiation with the dealer, book the car and choose the delivery method (including home delivery). Today customers want to interact with their favorite brands online or in person wherever they are and at any time – explains Britta Seeger – and for many of our customers, “luxury” means both comfort and saving of precious time. We respond to these needs by investing hundreds of millions of euros each year in the BCE4.0 strategy, a substantial part of which is dedicated to digitization.

The goal to offer to the potential buyer a coherent experience making each action as simple as possible: the recipe to integrate the use of digital channels with the experience of the brand in the real world, to guide the customer from online to offline. Between April and June alone, traffic to Mercedes-Benz digital stores in Germany increased by 70% when the manufacturer made home delivery of cars available. the acceleration due to Covid19 of a trend already underway: the German manufacturer expects that, by 2025, 25% of worldwide private car sales will take place through digital channels. And also for this reason that, already in 2019, Mercedes started to experiment with this formula directly in countries such as Sweden first and then also South Africa. All this, however, does not mean that the role of the dealers has failed, on the contrary: for customers of a luxury brand it is in fact essential to be able to live a 360-degree shopping experience, which starts from digital and passes for comparison with sales experts and then turn into after-sales service.

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So the digital transformation dealers must also have a strong impact, where Mercedes-Benz responds with innovative initiatives and projects: they range from the service with which sales consultants guide customers via skype to discover the car, showing them every detail in “direct” and deepening every aspect of interest, to the testing of projects such as Digital Detector and Visible Workshop. The first is an automated multi-camera system which, when passing on a platform of an assistance car, takes and archives dozens of photos in a few seconds that document the state of the vehicle in detail. The second requires that a mechanic take over the car, documenting any problems and explaining to the connected customer in video call what interventions would be necessary. The possibility of routine checks and interventions (from tire change to service coupon) will also be tested soon, allowing the customer to check-in and check-out of the car in complete autonomy using convenient digital tools.

July 21, 2020 (change July 21, 2020 | 16:59)

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