Guest post by Daniel Bland for Global Fleet

Vehicle purchasing in Brazil is one-third more likely to start in the digital media realm today compared to just one year ago.

Those wanting to sell their cars are replacing offline media advertising with online and digital media budgets to accompany the changing behavior of consumers, something that has caught the attention of those in the digital marketing and social media industries.

“Currently, 80% of vehicle purchasing in Brazil starts in the digital realm, in one form or another, compared to 62% last year,” local news portal Automotive Business quoted Google team leader for the automotive sector, Farouk Azanki, as saying.

However, according to Azanki, the process of buying a car is complex and often long. Although it begins in the digital world, deals are closed in a physical store, a process which often has loopholes which could affect customer satisfaction.

For instance, most car buyers initially use smart phones to look for vehicle information and make comparisons. Then, once they find the car they want, they usually call a dealership or visit their store to fill out forms and continue the process.

Many car dealers, however, are not prepared for this continuous online-to-offline customer relationship management.

As such, they need to build their own online presence or find a supporting platform, the latter of which has been created by local online vehicle sales portal iCarros in partnership with US-based automobile pricing company Kelly Blue Book (KBB).

“Our idea involves three steps, being the search for cars, the evaluation of cars, and then the actual purchasing of the cars,” iCarros CEO Ricardo Bonzo Filho told Global Fleet.

The iCarros-KBB website, which even offers financing, was launched on October 1.

The Evolving Client

To attract the younger generation of today, many dealerships need to rethink the way they sell cars. For one, marketing and the digital world go hand in hand.

Car marketers must realize that the world is faster, more connected, and more interactive than in the past, and that cars should be treated more like a commodity. Another key factor young shoppers are looking for is convenience.

One example would be the success of Volkswagen Brazil which created a pre-sales webpage in late August that attracted more than 1,000 new VW Polo buyers within two weeks after being announced. The cars will not be available in the country until November.

Strategies like these are key, according to Danton Veloso who is the CEO of local business consultancy firm Leadworks Door International. The more conventional types of dealerships we have seen in the past decades “will be obsolete in about four years,” he says.

Main photo: Traffic in Sao Paulo

This post was originally published on Global Fleet

Daniel Bland is a jornalist, US-LatAm business advisor and teacher

Follow Daniel on Twitter here

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