Barcelona, Changchun, Frankfurt/Main, Glasgow, Saragossa
Retail in transformation? Retailers in transformation!
Audi counts on a network of dealers and importers who are as much at home in the automotive future as the Group itself. Digitalization, electric mobility and mobility services are the three action areas that will shape the field of sales more strongly in the future.
New dealer contracts reflect this change and include activity-based pay in addition to the basic salary alone. This is about more than just car sales: It is about playing an active part in customers’ mobile, increasingly digital lifestyles when it comes to their cars. In this way, Audi is laying the foundation for its dealers’ future profitability. For example ProfitMining – a tool with which data and therefore customer needs can be analyzed.
To achieve its financial goals, Audi worked with importers and dealers to develop the Audi Retail Experience concept. It includes a flexible, customer-focused retail journey that seamlessly connects the online and offline worlds. At its core is the desire to create a special brand experience that the customer will have only at Audi. The key principle: Customers can tailor their individual advice and purchase experience to their priorities and receive the best offer for their individual circumstances.
Dealerships are increasingly becoming places where customers can discover all technological and emotional aspects of the Audi brand individually. The dealer is the central touchpoint with the customer in the physical world and the person who provides comprehensive information as well as an exciting product and brand experience. Naturally, the same service standard and brand identity are offered to Audi customers across all countries and continents.
New roles complement established job profiles. Audi is training its sales partners to act as hubs for digitally based mobility services such as Audi on demand. This premium mobility service can be tailored to local customer needs. In London, for example, Audi partners serve as a first stop, while in Hong Kong the service is available in private residential complexes, Audi showrooms and an exclusive shopping mall. The company is continuing to expand Audi on demand worldwide. The more active a retail partner is in such consulting and sales processes, the higher the partner’s compensation will be in the future. “This is the only way we can create a seamless customer journey from which customers, Audi and dealers will profit,” the sales strategist Horst Hanschur says.
“We get customers excited about Audi. That has always been our favorite job, but now it is officially at the heart of the Audi Retail Experience. This lets us live out our passion for premium automotive technology to the full. As an Audi expert, I share a unique product and brand experience with the customer. Sales pressure? It drops. We can show live during test drives just how assistance systems support the driver. When we hand over the vehicle, we explain how it works and join customers as they take their first steps into the digital world of Audi. Service doesn’t get any better than this. I’m proud of that.”
“The ideal situation? When customers say after a test drive: ‘This is exactly the Audi for me!’ Then I know that I understood my customer’s preferences correctly. Naturally we always try to do this, but up to now I have had to rely on my feelings. This is why I am really happy about the data analysis tool ProfitMining. It enables us to analyze the buying habits of customers in our region based on lots of anonymized data. A win-win situation because it makes the cars more attractive for our customers and, at the same time, reduces the amount of time they stand at our dealerships and therefore also the capital tied up. Since October 2018, I have been one of nine Spanish dealers who are testing ProfitMining. I have already noticed: It’s worth it!”
“The Audi Zentrum Frankfurt was one of the first in a group that now consists of more than 100 contract partners in Germany, where customers can buy and finance cars from Audi Approved :plus. Online, around the clock. Although the traditional customer still wants to see the car and take it for a test drive before buying it, the Internet is becoming increasingly more important as a sales channel. Our Audi Zentrum was involved in the development of the e-commerce project from the very beginning, because we dealers are very familiar with our customers’ wishes. Many of them want fast handling and delivery. In the future, the used-car market will become even more attractive through functions on demand, because customers can have the desired functions activated later on. That is a further bonus for customers – and for us as contract partners.”
“Our dealers in China really know their way around internal combustion engines. Electric motors are new in the Audi range. That is why customers also approach the dealers with lots of questions – and dealers must be able to provide the right answers. It is my job to train them for this task. This training program is largely digital: In technical training, Audi has a series of effective digital learning formats that dealers can access flexibly and regardless of location via a cloud-based platform. The spectrum ranges from web-based training and self-study programs to Audi Service TV clips and, in the future, augmented reality training on tablets. Most recently, I also learned to prepare dealers for electric mobility in live training sessions using virtual reality headsets. I call that ‘Vorsprung’!”
“Our business model has progressed from that of a traditional Audi dealer to that of a wider provider of comprehensive mobility services. That’s due to Audi on demand. Customers can choose from a range of high-profile models allowing a short-term experience of the Audi brand. This flexible mobility solution can be booked online or via smartphone, allowing the user to experience a digital all-inclusive offer. The booking period is between one hour and 28 days, giving choice and flexibility. What brings me to offer Audi on demand? It allows me to better utilize my own fleet and to leverage customer bookings efficiently and profitably through this flexible mobility alternative. The future uses of this solution are extensive and will see us better adopt a one-fleet approach within the business.”
Retail as a competitive advantage
- Through its global network of around 5,000 retail and service outlets, Audi enjoys a strategic competitive advantage and offers a place where customers can physically experience new technologies and mobility services. The focus is on market penetration, and this is a key part of the Audi Transformation Plan.
- The role of Audi dealers is changing and shifting increasingly toward the action areas of digitalization, electric mobility and mobility services. New contracts with dealers reflect this transformation.
- In the digital era, customers demand seamless, individual care at all times and via all sales and communication channels. This is exactly what the Audi Retail Experience provides. It is a win-win situation: maximum convenience for customers and attractive business potential for Audi and the sales network.