The used car market has been dominated by online sales for years and it makes sense for this trend to also invade the new car scene. It’s obviously a very different environment with its own specifics, but many automakers are already investing in digitalizing their sales. As part of its business transformation, BMW is also looking at achieving a larger portion of online sales from its total new car sales.
More precisely, the Bavarian automaker wants to sell 25 percent of all its new cars online by the middle of this decade. A new article by Forbs shines more light on BMW’s plans, which include using help from Adobe for data management. The tech company will also support the automaker’s efforts in the personalized digital customer experiences, including online sales of new vehicles.
“A third of all buyers can very clearly imagine to buy a car online,” Jens Thiemer, BMW Vice President, explained during on TechFirst podcast. “And we have to prepare ourselves together with our retail partners to make that possible.” This unified online experience could even expand to include virtual test drives, but switching entirely to online sales won’t happen anytime soon.
Thiemer believes BMW’s retail partners are “the main interface to our brand” and they are resources the company is not ready to lose. He also pointed out that “brands in the automotive sector which are totally based on a digital purchase journey” are now looking to expand their businesses with physical locations. Just because, “for a perfect customer journey,” they need those selling points.
Moving at least a quarter of its sales to online platforms would require a change in the way cars are sold at BMW. For example, new car prices need to be fixed as it is very difficult to recreate negotiations in the digital world. Also, BMW needs help from Adobe to create more advanced applications where the customers can configure their own cars as opposed to selecting from pre-built cars.