Virtually There! Rethinking the Automotive Product Launch Strategy
Transforming the Traditional Product Launch
Whilst the automotive world has enjoyed its history of big, glitzy global launches, there’s now a new call for interactive, engaging launch experiences given the recent shift to virtual. Huge disruption has hit hard, and many manufacturers began looking to alternative virtual experiences. Digital launches took centre stage.
Staying touchless whilst still in touch with customers and workers became vital. Events had to be redesigned. Platforms had to be reimagined. Product launches had to be rethought.
From press launch, to fleet launch, dealer launch and follow up training, each element was traditionally kept separate, with months, even years between each phase. Problems frequently arose, and often, knowledge and training didn’t align. For instance, customers would see intermittent press information about a fleet, go into a dealership to find out more and potentially purchase a vehicle. However, training often lagged behind, with car dealerships being at the end of the process, unable to provide customers with sufficient information about the car as they simply did not know enough about it yet.
Essentially, the product launch strategy needed an overhaul. Regardless of the pandemic. COVID sped up the process and brought inconsistencies to light. And whilst the pandemic may be nearly over, the seismic shifts in consumer behaviour as a result has forced businesses to rethink their product launch strategies, and integrate the old with the digital.
So, how do we rethink the automotive product launch strategy? And what does it look now?
The new face of product launches
Transitioning from in person launches to virtual launches has been challenging, but it’s been done. With great success.
How, when, and where customers shop has drastically changed over the last few years, and Audi are a prime example of adapting to that change. Audi recently embarked on their digitisation journey by incorporating augmented reality, a 360 product visualiser, and online bookings on their India website. This step meant that they could bring the car buying experience into the living rooms of their customers. This comfortable user experience is a real selling point for Audi, and it’s a great example of a new, effective launch strategy.
From virtual shows, to live streamed events, video conferences, and live chat functionality, digital has added another dimension to product launches. More people are reached worldwide, no limits to a time or place, there’s many more possibilities. Gamification offers the possibility of virtual reality test drives where the customer can inspect the features of a car and how it drives without actually leaving their homes.
That extends out to dealer networks too. A digital platform that sales teams can access is endlessly beneficial. They have the opportunity to access information and training about a particular fleet before its launch and at their own pace, as opposed to a blocked approach of classroom learning. Additionally, and importantly, they can chat directly with the customers too through chat functionalities, delivering on that modern, in-the-moment customer expectation of accessing information as and when they want it.
Various elements of a launch strategy can be streamlined with a single digital platform. That’s not to say a purely virtual product launch is the way to go. On the contrary, a hybrid approach that fuses both digital and in-person is extremely efficient, and has proven itself to be successful.
Want to find out more about creating an effective strategy for a hybrid approach? Stay tuned for the next article in this three-part series.