The auto industry has introduced waves of product innovations, from clean energy technologies to safety sensing systems and autonomous vehicles. Yet when it comes to automobile marketing and the customer shopping experience, insights and innovations are few and far between. Despite dramatic shifts in retail shopping and purchase behaviors, the car shopping experience has barely evolved since the first car dealership opened more than 100 years ago.
So, how do you transition an industry where dealers depend on traditional dealerships that often run counterintuitive to the ways today’s and tomorrow’s consumers want to shop?
Nissan, one of the world’s biggest auto manufacturers, partnered with Lippincott to seize the opportunity and lead an industry’s transformation.
Learning to leverage the new immediacy of customer expectations
Nissan recognized the impact of online retail and the massive investments of the largest brick-and-mortar retailers to digitize. Beyond greater selection and customization stood the looming customer expectation of near real-time satisfaction. Together, we set out to reimagine a network of sales and service formats that would address all the implications of the new car shopper in all her permutations.
We set out to transform a global network of retail dealerships into an experience network.
Defining a future-focused retail service network
The goal was evident from the start: Success would be nothing short of transforming a global network of retail dealerships into an experience network ready and able to satisfy the car shopper of today and set the rapid adoption of learnings for tomorrow. Starting with a series of discovery workshops with stakeholders, we applied Lippincott’s proprietary Customer of the Future framework to analyze market forces and evolving consumer behaviors, and to explore new benchmarks set by emerging mobility companies.
A priority that emerged from our initial collaborations was to recreate targeted customer segmentations through personas. This nuanced approach allowed for a more empathetic understanding of customer needs, insights into the hassles of the orthodox experience, and visibility into opportunities for deeper, more profitable engagement.
Finally, we set a strategy for our client’s retail value proposition offering to capitalize on every high-value opportunity for consumer engagement, brand affinity and storytelling.
Senior Partner, Innovation
Our approach allowed for a more empathetic understanding of customer mobility needs, today and tomorrow — creating opportunities for growth and more meaningful engagement for the client.
Lippincott created an ecosystem of new retail formats, with each designed to deliver new relevance and differentiation to the brand. Formats ranged from an entirely digital offering that would establish a direct-to-consumer sales and service experience through to an experiential brand destination designed to drive consideration and brand affinity.
The integrated retail ecosystem ensures a seamless experience across the customer journey, from discovery through to the purchase occasion to ownership and beyond. To guide the rollout, we created an implementation guide that covered everything from the required organizational structure of each format through to its differentiated engagement program and the desired customer journey.
Implementation of the program is underway, with the support of the professional services firm Turner & Townsend. Further opportunities to set the bar for the future of automotive customer satisfaction and sales has never looked brighter.