The digital transformation of the automotive aftermarket
In the automotive aftermarket world, from tires and spare parts to overhaul and service, independent businesses face several challenges in order to survive and beat the competition. On one side, there are the big car manufacturers that recognize the value of after-sales assistance, both as a tool for customer loyalty and as a very profitable activity beyond just selling, consequently monopolizing the sector; on the other side, there is the technological revolution that threatens to cut out those who have not yet adapted to digital. This transition toward digital is now a fact in all sectors; in 2016, 77% of people used the internet to search for products and services, and 84% of these searches were made by smartphone.* In regards to the automotive sector, according to 2017 research commissioned by Google in collaboration with Kantar TNS on the connection between digital usage and car purchases on the Italian market, it was found that 94% started their search for dealers online, of which 65% used a smartphone.** Furthermore, with the considerable increase in mobile, users are more predisposed to online interactions, especially in the automotive sector (which, according to a study on the call to action of Google's mobile searches, records an interaction rate of 73%***). However, despite a growing awareness in recent years, auto shops in Italy are still far from digitized; more than 50% do not offer online booking, and most are convinced that a trivial website is enough to stay competitive and differentiated on the market. A useful online tool to improve access to auto service could change the game for auto shops, as it did in the case of Savoia Pneumatici. Savoia Pneumatici is a family business centered on the sale and service of tires, created in the heart of Valpolicella in 1971 by two brothers, Giuseppe and Antonio Savoia. The strengths that distinguish the company are: many years of experience in the sector, the professionalism of their team and a wide range of services to meet every customer need. Accepting our bold digital solution for their business, Savoia Pneumatici took an important step forward. First, we enhanced their online channels to further highlight the company's unique qualities and expand their brand recognition and business reach. In addition, we created a new function for their website which facilitates online booking of services. It is very easy to use, both by the manager coordinating his own schedule and also by users who can access it directly from the company's online page. As we mentioned before, online interactions are rapidly increasing, so a helpful service function like this is highly appreciated by end users who are able to conveniently and efficiently make an appointment and are not restricted by telephone operators and workshop opening hours. Furthermore, in the case of assembly service, the system provides two alternatives, one of which is to purchase new tires directly online. If the user chooses this option, the tires will already be available at the workshop on the day of the appointment. This function allows the workers to have the new tires removed from storage and ready for service, eliminating waiting time for the customer and reducing the total time of service. There are also many benefits for the company: complete, systematic control of reservations without overlapping human errors or oversights, thus allowing for better organization and optimization of time. All of this adds up to an increase in bookings and increased customer satisfaction.
We have seen the difficulty faced by aftermarket auto companies who resist the digital transformation of the market which is rapidly taking hold. We recognize how important it is to enhance online channels in order to achieve business goals, as the Savoia Pneumatici case shows. Thanks to improved online functionality, Savoia Pneumatici has managed to improve its position on the market and likewise increase customer satisfaction, recording a considerable increase in its revenue. It is time for small businesses to become aware of the benefits that online enhancement and investment in a custom digital tool could offer.
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