Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe, little did anyone think how much of our lives would move online. Of course, it includes digital car buying experiences as well.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), the country’s largest carmaker, had sold over two lakh cars through online marketing channels since April last year. The company said it had connected thousands of dealerships across the country with the online sales platform it launched two years ago.
Maruti Suzuki has been accepting online bookings for new cars since 2017. The company estimates that inquiries into dealerships’ websites are also on the rise as consumers tastes are focused on online systems. During the coronavirus crisis, digital inquiries have increased by 33% in the last five months.
Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava has revealed that the number of inquiries through such media has tripled since the launch of the new digital channel in 2018. Since April last year, vehicle sales through digital channels have reached over two lakh units. Maruti Suzuki estimates that it has received over 21 lakh queries through its various digital channels.
Srivastava explained that digital systems influence 95 per cent of new car sales in online users’ queries, citing the Google Auto Gear Shift India 2020 report.
After an extensive search of the online system, most people go to dealerships and buy a car. Users rely entirely on online systems for inquiries about the vehicle. The online experience provides a complete spectrum of information to the customers. “Interestingly, customers who enquire through the digital channel end up purchasing a car within 10 days. This reaffirms that with a robust online to offline platform executed by a digitally enabled salesforce, converting digital inquiries into sales becomes easier,” Srivastava added, saying that many are approaching dealers to ensure benefits and discounts. He also added that Maruti Suzuki had invested in the hyper-local platform is to help customers discover faster and connect to their nearest dealers. This category has also achieved tremendous growth in recent times. Over the past two years, more than 1,000 dealerships have integrated digital channels into 3,000 online touchpoints. Among the vehicles sold by Maruti Suzuki India through the Arena, dealerships are the Alto, X-Presso, Eeco, Celerio, WagonR, Swift, Dzire, Ertiga and VitaraBrezza. The automobile manufacturer sells models like the Ignis, Baleno, Ciaz, XL6 and S-Cross through the Nexa dealerships.