Using digital to complement the offline retail experience

Great customer experience leverages the harmony between online and offline.

We recently came across Mark Ritson’s article on Tesla closing its retail network, and we couldn’t agree more with his comments.

Although Tesla have now confirmed they won’t close all of their showrooms it certainly sparks a debate between the role of digital and physical retail environments and how brands need to consider what’s right for the customer in terms of their engagement needs.

As consumer needs evolve and the way we access products becomes even more embedded online, this isn’t a surprising move from brands as they consider cost saving exercises and a belief that digital works in isolation because it’s more accessible.

But as Mark states, you still need the dealership or ‘experience centre’ to see the car in the flesh. 

In fact, from our experience, there’s a build on this.

When we worked with Hyundai to create  Hyundai Click to Buy (The UK’s first end to end online car buying platform) in 2017 we saw that some consumers were happy to part with cash online for high ticket items.

But we’ve also seen an increase in footfall over time, with consumers coming to dealerships weaponised with the deal, finance, or trade in price they have found on the platform and then completing the purchase in dealership. It’s a demonstration of how digital can empower the customer. If anything, the online element has increased the significance of retail.

Automotive manufactures (and other brands) should be considering how the role of online and digital can complement physical retail stores, rather than taking people away from them. We believe that a truly integrated end-to-end experience enhances not just profits but also the marque.

We look forward to seeing whether other retail brands (especially high ticket items) embrace the bold move into online only can sustain the growth and mass market appeal it is hoping for.

If you’d like to discuss how you can better leverage the harmony between digital and offline customer experience, get in touch for a chat.