UAE: Would You Buy A Car Online? Auto Industry Experts Explain Importance Of Multiple Platforms

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Less than 1 per cent of customers buy a car online - but that doesn't mean automotive companies can afford to not have an online presence.“What happens is that a lot of people are conducting their research online,” said Marcel Schulte, General Manager of Customer Engagement at Al-Futtaim Automotive.“They check the different car models and the features that are available. Actually most of the leads that come into the showroom come from online.”

Marcel was speaking at the Tribe 2024 conference that brought together chief marketing officers (CMOs) from around the country to exchange ideas on the future of marketing in a landscape that is evolving at breakneck speed.

Speaking about the importance of being present of several different channels, Marcel explained how the company developed a seamless experience.“It often happens that companies develop bits and pieces but don't know how to connect them,” he said.“We brought together our call centre setup, showroom, CRM system to be connected to give a seamless omnichannel customer experience.”

He said it was important for companies to think how they could follow through the customer's journey.“We need to make sure that we reach out to customers at each touchpoint,” he said.“What are the customers searching for, who are they interacting with and how do you translate into a sale.”


During the discussion, Jonathan Flender, Vice President of Sports at GMG said that it required a collaboration between teams to achieve a seamless omnichannel experience.“It comes from a deep place of wanting to achieve that,” he said.“There is a collaboration between marketing, customer service, tech, IT, customer experience and other teams. To achieve that you need to recognise consumer behaviour across channels.”

He explained that for a company like GMG which has a variety of products across various verticals, it was important to collate the data they had.“At the channel level, one user would have multiple profiles,” he said.“So the first step was to do a lot of data cleanup and do profile merging.”

Loyalty programmes

One of the hot topics of discussion was how to switch from third-party data collection to a cookie-less world of first-party data collection. According to Siddarth Sivaprakash, Head of Marketing and Brand at Home Centre, the company's loyalty programme was an asset.

“The first point we like to leverage of is our Shukran loyalty programme,” he said.“It is one of the largest and oldest in the region and has provided us with a wealth of first party information. It helps us to know more about customers. We have also got data analytics teams dive into that data.”

He explained how the company showed visibility across platforms and it was successful in driving sales.“Today, 30 per cent of our business in Saudi Arabia comes from our omni channels,” he said.


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