a more digital customer journey
What should we know about Volkswagen Group Retail France?
Brice Renvoizé: It is the leading distributor of Volkswagen group brands. It is also affiliated with Porsche Holding in Salzburg. We cover 8 brands: Audi, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, SEAT, Cupra, Skoda, Porsche and Bentley. We have 3,000 employees spread across 76 sales outlets.
We are entrepreneurs. SME clusters are found in Auvergne, Hauts-de-France, Brittany, Île-de-France, Lorraine and Lyon, which have a strong local history. Our business specialists effectively respond to the requests of our customers.
Can you tell us about the car market?
Olivier Vicaire: It consists of two types of vehicles, new vehicles (VN) and used vehicles (VO) and several marketing methods such as purchase, leasing, rental… I emphasize that we have a strong demand from individuals. for rent with the option to buy.
The distributor must also be an expert and combine several areas of expertise: NV, UV, APV and parts. The car market benefits from several distribution channels represented by individuals, fleet (car fleet managers) and rental companies.
The second-hand car market is divided between professionals and individuals. In France, we have a very different distribution than our European neighbors. The proportion of sales made by individuals is higher than that of car specialists. However, the curve is reversed: customers prefer to buy from a professional because they are looking for reassurance, guarantees, service offerings that they cannot find in an individual. Good news!
Today, major trends are emerging in this market. We note the decline in sales of new cars with 1.5 VS 2.2M and the emergence of new players. Digitization is accelerating on the customer journey side. Of course, electric and the arrival of new Chinese competitors.
Let’s focus on the used car: do you identify developments and key market facts?
OV: They register an average of three used cars for every new car. The market declined in 2022, down 13% from 2021, which was an exceptional year. Demand from our customers remains stable due to the decline in new car production, VGRF is bucking this trend.
What do you promise for a used car at VGRF?
OV: We can count on 280 trained and sensitive experts. Volkswagen Group Retail France benefits from a wide range of published and photographed with over 5,000 vehicles in permanent stock. We offer cars for all budgets from €5,000 to €300,000, for example we have the most used Porsche on our website.
Our process of expertise is recognized starting with immediate processing of customer inquiry, offer, financing, expert restoration estimate, payment and finally delivery. In addition, we regularly conduct destocking operations and our teams are mobilized to meet the needs of our customers. Note that 40% of our used car customers are digital customers.
BR: We offer over 100 local digital storefronts like Sonauto. They are distributed among several brands and cities. Where VGRF excels is its speed and follow-up with a digital client. In 82% of cases, the phone call is answered in less than 20 seconds. Otherwise, we call the customer back in less than 10 minutes. We also have over 9000 leads per month and our customers can contact us via phone, chat (with real people) or form. Finally, one of our strengths is positioning ourselves as a local and above all digital media.
Who are the new players? Are you spotting new trends? What are your answers?
OV: With updated dates (such as La Centrale and Le Bon Coin) and other players (including the closed Cazoo and Heycar), information media is now inevitable. Our goal in this ecosystem is to optimize and develop our storefronts in parallel. Above all, we strive to meet new demands, new routes and develop our offer and services:
- Remote car valuation with real-time video appointment, payment with escrow (estimate > video appointment > offer > deposit payment);
- Home delivery and pick-up of APV from home;
- Develop financing and related services by testing flexible subscription.
We will also develop the skills of our teams with remote sales and electricity training. We also want to develop the sale of used cars over 5 years old, which will allow our dealers to attract loyal consumers (buying other used cars/VN/APVs). Finally, we want to develop purchasing and repurchasing.
BR: Consumer expectations are changing and they are fraught with a number of challenges. On the digital side, there are more CLEs for used cars than for other activities. VGRF hopes the car activity used to test and showcase the group’s digital transformation. For this, we implement a number of measures:
Keep investing in digital. This desire runs through features, media/traffic and the performance of our storefronts. Challenges: simplifying the journey from digital to retail and then from retail to digital to drive business and delight consumers. VGRF aims to simplify their lives by developing tools and tools to help them and capture leads/prospects:
- Immediately proceed to manage and respond to customers as detailed above. In the case of chat, agents are available 24 hours a day;
- Vehicle valuation and full online payment process;
- VO comparison;
- OV video;
- Wanted car alert to be alerted;
- Customer feedback.
Use e-commerce to accelerate business for sellers and retailers:
- Online/remote payment (estimate > video meeting > offer > deposit payment);
- Online/remote funding (simulation > online file > electronic signature);
- Online booking.
- Launch customer contact centers to manage customers remotely, call back consumers and handle their queries in real-time;
- Include customer relations skills and knowledge.