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Dealer of Tomorrow: A Perfect Mix of the Analog and Digital Worlds

Part of the latest sales strategy: customers will soon be able to order their car online.

Sales, service and administration will take on entirely new roles and responsibilities at the dealer of tomorrow. In addition to dealerships, digital interfaces will soon be available to customers as well (left side of the image).

Customers will soon be able to skip the dealership and order their cars straight from the website. This is all part of Volkswagen’s new sales strategy.
And that’s not all. Each customer will receive an individual ID linked to their car and their preferred dealership. A one-time registration process (“single sign-on”) will enable vehicle owners to use all of Volkswagen’s “We” services and manage their personal details and vehicle information.
Volkswagen will use the ID to provide individualized customer service – with the customer’s consent, of course. Benefits include the company being able to bring cars to the workshop before a minor technical issue results in a breakdown. In the future, Volkswagen will use its vehicles’ mobile internet to provide its customers with software updates as needed. Customers will also be able to purchase online services or book a car-sharing vehicle using their ID. All of this will require a completely innovative data management system, and Volkswagen will need to engage much more intensively with its dealers.

"Our absolute top priority is data security"

Christoph Hartung

“Our absolute top priority is data security. No one will be forced to give us access to their data. Only people who want to opt in will be involved,” says Christoph Hartung, Head of Digital and New Business Sales.
Regardless of whether cars are ordered online or purchased offline, dealerships will retain their important role in future. “Some customers will want to have a look at the car they are considering at the nearby dealership and then order it online later that night as they relax on the sofa,” says Ulf Eberhardt, Head of Sales and System Strategy, summing up what a combined analog/digital purchase experience might look like. In addition to traditional dealerships, smaller showrooms or pop-up stores will be set up in downtown areas.

"Some customers will want to have a look at the car they are considering at the nearby dealership and then order it online later that night as they relax on the sofa"

Ulf Eberhardt

These will be short-term “stores” that might be set up only for the duration of a specific event being held somewhere. The workshops housed at dealerships will also be undergoing changes: they will start concentrating on “high-voltage repair” for electric cars. Another innovation is the “Digital Genius.” It can advise customers on any questions they have about online services, products, and general questions regarding digitalization. Apps and online services will also play a greater role in after-sales. For example, service employees will be activate specific digital functions in a vehicle on request. Each dealership will also offer its customers charging stations and free Wi-Fi. Peter Maiwald, Head of After Sales and Retail, says, “This new sales strategy represents evolution, not revolution. We are combining the advantages brought by the digital age with the trusted service our dealers provide all over the world.”

"We are combining the advantages brought by the digital age with the trusted service our dealers provide all over the world"

Peter Maiwald