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4 Ways to Harness the Power of Digital Transformation in the Aftermarket Industry

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Reality Check

The automotive aftermarket is undergoing dramatic changes in evolving customer expectations, acceleration of technological innovation, and shifts in competitive power. These changes are revamping the way business in the automotive aftermarket is conducted and value is created.

Interestingly, Auto aftermarket sales becoming an omnichannel experience.Today’s consumer visits and researches a variety of channels — including websites, catalogs, social media, advertisements, and stores — before making a purchase. Furthermore, online channels are also giving customers quick access to the information on the prices of parts while online forums are giving customers a peer perspective on the quality/value of workshops.

Before moving further, let’s quickly define “Aftermarket”

The aftermarket, which is a broad term, can be at times, an afterthought in the automotive world and many consumers may not even be aware what the term means. However, it represents an enormous industry that offers significant value in improving the driving experience. Aftermarket parts are replacement parts that are made by a company other than your vehicle’s original manufacturer.

The need of the hour is modernization of legacy systems in the aftermarket industry

With legacy and disjointed systems, aftermarket processes suffer from high latency and lagged response. This may be because of restrictive technologies and interfaces or high cost of wrap up solutions. For example, waiting time for a service ticket is so high that it may dissuade the customer from reaching out to OEM or their dealers. Moreover, legacy systems do not enable the customer to do self-service.

Additionally, without digital technologies, the customer interaction with a dealer or an OEM is constrained by time and geographic reach.

 

This is where the digital transformation plays a vital role!!!

It leads to a better understanding of the customer, helps in personalizing responses, streamlines operations, enhances customer experience and improves revenue by serving manifested and latent demands. Digital technologies allow companies to derive total life cycle value of their incumbent customer base.

So how digital transformation is changing the Aftermarket landscape

1. Social Media

UPS Online shoppers survey shows online buyers are diligent about research, extensively use online reviews, ratings and social media. Interestingly, 70% of business buyers purchase from an online catalog rather than through another channel. By using social media and analytical tools customer touch points can be identified as social media has made customers more comfortable with connecting and engaging with one another and sharing their concerns and thoughts. Also, with the help of social media, aftermarket suppliers can eliminate the unwanted waiting and reneging.

2. Mobility and connected devices

High smartphone adoption, millions of connected devices using IoT and other technologies and ubiquitous connectivity are creating new opportunities at multiple levels for OEM’s. These technologies are reorganizing and redefining internal and external structure and the process of companies. Mobile is critical in the shopping journey and mobile phones account for 34 percent of retail e-commerce sales transactions. That percentage is expected to increase to 48 percent by 2020. Needless to say, to stand out from competitors, a business needs to provide a smooth, frictionless experience and customer engagement by providing quick product searches, delivery and in-store pickup options, and mobile-friendly access to online sites.

3. Cloud

Cloud and IoT enabled infrastructure enables a highly cost-effective, rapidly responsive and elastic IT, better aligned with the business needs. Cloud enables aftermarket business to innovate faster while leveraging existing systems and capabilities. Cloud-based tools provide visibility to aftermarket suppliers for every party in the supply chain to look at same data and analytics so that defects can be detected and corrected early in the chain.

4. Data & Analytics

Digital technologies connect ecosystem-wide processes so that assets are efficiently managed using predictive analysis of potential errors and initiate. Aftermarket digital transformation pushes business strategies to evolve from selling a product or service to a customer experience-centric value proposition. By using data and advanced analytics, aftermarket suppliers can accurately forecast demand, deepen customer engagement and can also drive loyalty and sales.

The Bottom Line:

Digital Disruption is forcing companies to recognize the aftermarket’s enormous potential and understand the entire lifespan of a sold product, including supplies, repairs, selling and servicing spare parts, installing upgrades, handling inspections and add-ons, training, and customization. To stay competitive, it is imperative for aftermarket suppliers to change their mindset, create a vision, invest in digital content and analytics, lean on data to stay in touch with customers permanently, provide service through the traditional and digital channel and deliver exceptional aftermarket capabilities coupled with self-service.

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