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2020 has been an extremely difficult year for the automobile industry as a whole. The COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, caused the entire country to go into lockdown. This resulted in heavy disruption of sales for vehicle manufacturers in the Indian market.
When the lockdown did end in June 2020, many auto brands were left under heavy losses, working out ways to get over the losses and recover sales as fast as possible. While there have been many steps taken by car brand's to get back customers, one of the most important and successful methods has been through an online platform.
Over the past few months, multiple car brands have introduced online sales platforms, which offer customers the chance to purchase their preferred vehicles from the comfort of their homes.
Although many brand's had introduced online platforms for bookings vehicles prior to the pandemic itself, the adoption of this sales method seems to have accelerated since the lockdown. With many customers still hesitant to visit physical showrooms, the online platform gives them the opportunity to still have that car purchase experience, but virtually.
Most companies have introduced online sales platforms for their products in the Indian market. While some of them are very straightforward, there are other brands which offer a complete virtual experience for their customers.
These online platforms allow customers to choose from the entire range of products offered by a particular brand in the country. They can then select the variants, engine & transmission options, select the colour and add accessories as per their liking. Few brands also offer customers the choice to customise the car as per their taste.
Once done, customers can then book the car online and even make payments. Brands also offer financing options to customers, which they can choose. Finally, after selecting the nearest dealerships, the car will be delivered to the customer's preferred location.
Over the past few months, we have been witnessing more and more customers adopting this method. Maruti Suzuki recently announced that since April 2019 they have registered over 2 lakh units of sales via their online platform. However, they did confirm that their online platform has witnessed a five-fold increase in visitors, in the past couple of months.
Another recent example is that of the Nissan Magnite bookings. The company announced that of the total bookings received since launch, 40 per cent came from its online platform. Other manufacturers with a digital sales platform include Tata Motors, Mahindra, Hyundai, Honda, Kia Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and many others.
Apart from sales, the digital platform also allows current customers to register their vehicles for service appointments, check the service status, make payments and even request pick-up and drop-off services for their vehicles.
Thoughts On The Rise Of Online Sales Platform In India In 2020
Digital sales platform seems to be the way forward in a new-normal, post the pandemic. While many people have adopted the new vehicle purchase method faster, it will take some more time for everyone to make use of it. However, with the car brand's working on continuously improving the platform, it shouldn't be too long.