Digital Disruption in the Automotive Industry
By Sonny Hawan , 29 January 2019
Digital Disruption in the Automotive industry
The Mobility and Automotive industry are in the midst of a huge generational shift. Expense, environmental pressures and new technology are pushing customers away from the traditional methods that OEMs, leasing companies, dealerships and large rental brands have relied on for years to generate revenue. The biggest disruption to the industry is Digital Innovation.
Automotive Executives now have all manner of custom solutions and online strategies to consider incorporating into their business.
Mobile online browsing means that several trips to a dealership to think about buying a car is becoming a thing of the past. Interactive online showrooms can now be built using intuitive UX design. Once the virtual space is complete a well calibrated demand generation strategy can help to fill it with potential customers.
Do we really need to interact with a representative in order to rent a car? Websites with real time booking capabilities are no longer the frontier. Rental brands can now neatly incorporate apps into the pick-up process – unlocking cars and signing them out. Imagine marketing yourself as a leading ‘no queue’ rental company.
Commitment will soon feel restrictive for a generation of drivers beginning to trust car sharing platforms and hourly usage rates. In future, it may not be enough for leasing companies to simply offer more flexible conditions.
Disruptive digital technology is shouldering historical market conditions aside and creating a new competitive playing field for companies brave enough to innovate.
Innovation here certainly opens up the possibilities for business diversification but let’s not forget that cars and vehicles in general, are still money making units of metal and rubber. For any company that can access cars efficiently and at a sustainable price - that won’t change immediately. Cars may get cheaper and certainly greener but for now the innovation can still lie in how vehicles bring companies revenue and convenience to consumers.
The automotive industry isn’t struggling with creativity when it comes to the new world of revenue opportunities but on a practical level, implementing digital products and strategies requires different types of specialist experience. Help is needed.
Adaptation and Solution
It’s an exciting time to be a Digital Marketing partner with experience of working with industry giants such as Rentalcars.com.
Digitisation means even greater power lies with Rentalcars.com customers. Thanks to mobile browsing and other competitive aggregator sites, consumers are now confident and comfortable with options and choice. Rentalcars.com recognise a growing demand from customers searching for down town rental as opposed to just airport. Adapting and tapping into a new market of urban renters meant welcoming independent car rental companies already well located, but unable to connect with the broker site.
Wyoming and Rentalcars.com spent six months designing, researching and refining Marketplace, a web application portal that would provide independent car rental operators access to the Rentalcars.com platform.
And Rentalcars.com aren’t the only ones working hard to keep up. Change is afoot industry wide.
Niches and gaps
By looking specifically at the new options now available in replacement of car ownership it become quickly apparent that providers are using digital innovation to capitalise on offerings that are more and more refined towards customer choice.
Take Drover – the flexible car subscription service that advocates car usage over ownership. Neatly picking a niche between short term rental and longer leasing contracts, listening to a non-committal generation and offering usage that you can cancel with 7 days’ notice.
Zipcar is a more established car club that similarly present an alternative to buying a car but differentiate their target audience by offering cars by the hour or even minute.
These options aren’t the only impeding competition for OEM’s and Leasing organisations. Companies like Turo do something comparable to car clubs but are using digital solutions to create revenue from cars they don’t even own. Their online portal allows car owners to list and rent their own vehicles in a peer to peer marketplace.
Not innovative enough? Like Turo, Car and Away offer peer to peer rental but specifically at airports where the cost of parking a car can incentivise car owners to rent their vehicles out whilst on holiday. The same Car and Away site is used by inbound visitors seeking to book airport rental pick up.
It’s clear that new gaps within the mobility market are being filled with digital solutions that can connect buyers, renters and users to vehicles. Rather than simply running to catch up, the best approach is to lean-forward and see this as clear opportunity to capitalise on the changing market landscape. A good example of ‘becoming a disruptor’ is Volkswagen’s We Share.
In 2019 VW will be launching their own app based electric car sharing model. ‘We share’ will be the first of a series of services offered via a wider ecosystem – ‘Volkswagen We' and is aimed at non owners. This is a company that traditionally sell cars. The company is clearly prepared to say that the risk of being left behind is greater than the risk of not investing in new revenue generation streams.
Wyoming are digital performance specialists. Regardless of whether we've been asked to improve User Experience, architect an enterprise application, or improve demand generation ROI for a new online solution, we have the experienced specialists to help companies adapt and thrive. If your company have recently come across a digital challenge or perhaps has recognised an area of opportunity that needs the industry expertise and resource to come to fruition, contact us here.