Accenture Song partners with smart Europe to revamp the car shopping experience, implementing a data-driven, direct-to-consumer model for a personalised and intuitive buying journey.
Accenture has teamed up with smart Europe to establish its data-driven, direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model in Europe, repositioning the iconic brand and supporting the launch of its new fully electrical car lines, starting with the smart #1 with an innovative take on the car customisation experience.
Together the companies’ ambition is to make the car shopping experience easier and personalised to each customer. Implementing the direct sales model, including a fully digital-driven buying experience where the customer chooses the journey and data offers relevant personalisation.
Christian Barth, managing director at Accenture Song, said: “For decades, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of the automotive industry have been selling cars through dealers. With the rising expectation of online shopping, OEMs are seeking to provide the options customers demand these days. Currently they are missing out on seamless experiences up to the physical outlet, real-time data about their customers’ purchasing habits and a means to enable holistic customer experiences, loyalty and trust. With the rapid digitisation of the automotive industry and the rise of the connected car, the way is paved for DTC models. Customers are demanding either purely digital-driven purchasing experiences and smart is now positioned to meet that need.”
Accenture Song, Accenture’s tech-powered creative group, created a new, holistic ecosystem for smart completely from scratch to allow a holistic view of customer interactions. Accenture’s DTC specialists supported smart in shaping its direct sales business model by initiating the potential for future customer engagement informed by data. For example, insights can be used to expand offerings such as extended insurance coverage for travel, as well as to help make key decisions about marketing, sales, supply chain and distribution, lead management and production.
Daniel Gonsior, Managing Director, Experience Platforms, Accenture Song adds: “Two and a half years back we have shaped a technological vision together with smart, which was meant to enable the business model. In February this year we brought it live. With a greenfield approach, we were able to implement a modern platform based on future oriented architecture principles to not only capture all of data from marketing, ecommerce, outlets and vehicles in one place, but also to enable hyper-personalization for smart’s customers in the future.”
Dirk Adelman, CEO of smart Europe, said: “Our customers’ needs are changing faster than ever. It is our ambition to offer them an intuitive purchasing experience for a car as unique as their preferences are. For this we needed data at the core, that we could use to drive innovation, create new products and personalise the way each smart owner designs and uses their car.”
Behind the design of smart’s digital ecosystem is a desire to reflect people’s needs for ecommerce to adapt to the non-linear nature of shopping decisions: with multiple tweaks along the way, speaking to friends and family, or doing further research.
Users can customise their preferred car and see similar vehicles ready in stock or search stock directly to choose from currently available cars. They can check tech specs, compare variants, save and share their favourite options. When they are ready to do more than browse, they can book a test drive, explore finance options and eventually purchase their chosen car. Help is available via smart’s Customer Engagement Center (CEC), with easy contact through phone, e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even iMessage or WhatsApp.
With the market launches of smart #1 in Germany and France, first users could already experience the new buying journey by ordering their #1 online on the smart website. Further European markets will follow subsequently in 2023.
smart and Accenture worked together on the vision and execution of the platform spanning ecommerce, marketing automation, customer data platform, CRM and a headless frontend. Taking a greenfield approach, the companies’ core objective is to continually enhance the platform. A robust architecture with decoupling and composability pattern puts data at the core to help smart understand its customers and anticipate their needs, resulting in seamless and personalised user experience.