By working with VTEX, the global enterprise digital commerce platform, Mazda UK’s conversion rate from reservation to sales grew up to more than 75%
Today, the journey of buying a car increasingly begins online rather than in a showroom. According to Google, global searches for “car sales” have grown by over 60% year on year since 2019. The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated this, with 92% of car buyers now researching online before they buy.
Manufacturers and dealerships need to keep up with the rapid rise in customer demand for more digital experiences. According to UK car buyer research in 2020, there’s a growing interest in having video meetings with sales people (37%), visiting showrooms virtually (35%) and having more access to online purchasing options (32%).
Mazda Motor Europe is responding to this dynamic demand by working with VTEX to transform its digital commerce operations. It kicked off the partnership by rolling out the first online Vehicle Stock Locator for new cars across all UK Mazda dealerships which can be visited on https://shop.mazda.co.uk/.
Matthias Sileghem, Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs at Mazda Motor Europe, explains the motivation: “This initial step in transforming our buying experience has generated some great feedback from dealers and customers. Partly due to Covid-19, more and more customers are using digital channels to inform their buying decisions. But we recognised there was a missing piece in our customer journey when it came to checking the availability of our stock.”
“As a good partner to our Dealers, it’s vital we support them in offering a buying experience that satisfies customer needs. Their rapidly changing preferences shaped by the digitalisation of buying in virtually every category, plus the increasing disruption of our market by new digital-first businesses, drives us to innovate so we can stay close to customers’ desires.”
“With the new Vehicle Stock Locator developed with VTEX, once customers research Mazda’s cars and specify their preferred model, they can easily identify new vehicles near their location available to buy and reserve online. Their purchase is then completed more easily and efficiently when they visit the dealership.”Matthias Sileghem, Vice President for Communications & Public Affairs at Mazda Motor Europe
“We know the showroom will still play an important role, but people are looking to get more done online before arriving in-person. Because they now do so much research, they enter our dealerships much more prepared.”
Feedback from UK Mazda dealers shows they are benefiting from better qualified leads and their sales are more efficient. About 60% of customers are coming via dealer websites to the stock locator and sales conversion rates are around 85% for these customers. Dealer feedback has been very positive, and they are now eager to extend the functionality available within the online customer journey.
Mazda developed the Vehicle Stock Locator MVP with VTEX in under six months, so it could be launched at the end of January 2022. Matthias Sileghem explains the next phase of development: “Our initial success has been down to involving dealers within the development and ensuring they saw real benefits quickly. With some market experience and dealer feedback under our belts, the next step will be to add new functionality and refine the user experience. We’re also working on a business case to add used cars alongside new models at the end of 2022.”
“With new cars, we’re currently able to show available products at the recommended retail price because the final purchase price is agreed at the dealership. With used cars, our dealers need to have the flexibility within the system to add different images and information about the condition of vehicles, plus their market price.”
The Vehicle Stock Locator is a foundation upon which Mazda can build a complete digital car shopping experience, allowing vehicle configuration, test drive booking, financing calculation and approval, purchase of accessories and, most importantly, the full purchase of new and used vehicles.
In choosing VTEX technology, Mazda recognised the enterprise digital commerce platform’s ability to achieve a fast time-to-market through the composable front-end and back-end architecture that has been tailored to its needs.
Matthias Sileghem talks about the experience: “From the start, VTEX has shown incredible agility and commitment to turning our vision into reality. In my experience, the success of new solutions is about 20% down to the technology and 80% down to the attitude and commitment of people working on the project. Working with VTEX has been a good experience and real team effort, with everyone dedicated to making the project a success.”
“We’re excited to be working with VTEX in shaping the digital future of car buying for our dealerships and customers across Europe. Our vision is to build on this initial work in the UK to support the development of ecommerce marketplace infrastructure for all Mazda entities Europe-wide that will enable nearly 1,600 dealerships to support the sales of new and used vehicles online.”
Daniela Jurado, VTEX’s EMEA General Manager, provides the technology partner perspective: “We’re glad to empower Mazda to fulfil its digital journey. Our composable commerce architecture allows them to have a flexible, modern and robust solution that integrates perfectly into the customer experience and allows other channels to become part of this strategy, creating a real omnichannel scenario. We found in Mazda a great partner to explore the new frontiers of digital commerce in the European automotive industry, and we’re very excited about the project’s next steps.”