• Mercedes-Benz's Britta Seeger chats about the brand's 'Best Customer Experience 4.0'.
• The brand is focused on gaining customers via engaging with them in an online space.
• "The more digital the world is getting the more personal an experience it needs to be," says Seeger.
Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of the digital transformation of sales and after-sales in the motor industry.
In 2019, Wheels24 attended the brand's 'Best Customer Experience (BCE) 4.0' summit in The Hague, Netherlands and caught a glimpse of how the carmaker is clear on placing the customer in control of the process.
Mercedes' reckoning is that as the world becomes more glued to their devices, the best way to market, communicate, and interact is via those channels.
For example, an advertisement on Instagram of a new car will link to the website where a user can either find a similar model to the one advertised, or to the configurator.
It's a strategy that Britta Seeger, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz's head of marketing and sales, is continuing to implement.
"The more digital the world is getting, the more personal an experience it needs to be," says Seeger.
BCE 4.0 guides the 94-year-old company in providing a consistent luxury brand experience to their customers and the task of seamlessly merging the digital channels with the physical brand experience.
It's about moving between online and offline that customers are getting accustomed to and to a certain extent have been forced to do because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Customers have placed their safety high on the priority list and Seeger says there is a strong change to do more and more in a digital way.
The data collected by Seeger and her team showed customers, on average, visited a dealership eight times before purchasing a car. Since the introduction of a more digital approach the number of visits has been reduced, on average, to around two.
Speaking of data, Seeger says there tools that allow the company to extract and analyse data from online sources, also known as data harvesting.
"It starts at you visiting the website and getting to know the customer via all the cookies. And that leads to be better leads to dealers and higher conversion rate," Seeger says.
The brand saw a 70% growth in website traffic between April and June was mainly attributed to the contactless vehicle delivery service.
It also makes communicating about after-sales service for the customer as well, via online.
But don't despair, the human touch will always be an essential part of the business as dealerships have morphed to showcase the brand's top products.
"Since we are selling an emotional, luxury product and of course customers want to touch and feel and experience the car before they buy it," says Eva Wiese, head of own retail passengers cars and vans Württemberg.
Wiese says: "During the lockdown phase when our customers were unable to visit the showroom personally, our sales experts started to produce short, personal videos for them instead of the usual phone calls and emails and we got really good feedback on that, our customers loved it."
Mercedes is seemingly leading the way in the sphere of merging the online and offline space to make things easier for customers.
Image: Mercedes-Benz media