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Automobile sales registered a double-digit growth in June. Photo: Mint
Automobile sales registered a double-digit growth in June. Photo: Mint

Automakers bet on digital platforms to woo customers

  • Covid has resulted in a sharp fall in dealership footfall
  • For Maruti, the share of sales via digital enquiries has surged to 35-40% from 15-16% before the pandemic

NEW DELHI : Automakers are placing big bets on digital platforms to reach out to customers in urban and rural markets during the festival season amid a growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, said senior executives of automobile companies at Mint’s CMO webinar on Tuesday.

The companies are tapping their online portals to sell vehicles as they fear that worries among potential buyers of contracting infection may result in a sharp drop in dealership footfall.

For Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the share of sales through enquiries from digital platforms has surged to 35-40% from 15-16% before the pandemic, said Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti Suzuki.

“Digital is not just about enquiries or just about bookings, but also about having total data, a single view of a customer both on the interactional and the transactional aspect to have predictive modelling of his and her future behaviour. We at Maruti Suzuki are doing that in a big way and going forward even in this festive season, I do think it will play a major role," said Srivastava.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd was the first automaker to start its own Click-To-Buy platform in March, when the crisis started. Honda Cars India also launched its digital platform for vehicle bookings, Honda from Home, to help customers who don’t want to visit dealerships for vehicle enquiries or purchase.

“The point is that digital is not only about the car purchase but the entire lifestyle of the customer," said Tarun Garg, director, sales and marketing, Hyundai Motor India.

Companies have also adjusted their marketing strategies to focus on digital advertising on certain platforms to garner customer attention.

“While we have e-shops that we have created for the transaction journey, digital is much more than transaction. How effectively you use it for engaging with customers and various stakeholders will hold the key," said Naveen Chauhan, national head of sales and after sales, Hero MotoCorp Ltd.

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