With the global economic landscape going through a shift like never before, Mercedes-Benz India has taken its showrooms online so you can buy a car from the comfort of your couch through the Merc From Home platform
The times we are going through are unprecedented – a global pandemic that has brought the world economy to its knees, forcing people indoors and shifting the way we look at the world around us. As much as we may will it away, the virus isn’t going anywhere any time soon even when the national lockdown lifts. We are eventually going to resume our lives, and try to bring back some semblance of normalcy but there is no denying that the way we do business and go about our lives has changed forever. It is in times like these that technology really comes to the fore. Mercedes-Benz India is reinventing the entire process of buying a car. What used to involve multiple trips to the closest dealership can now be taken care of entirely from your home or office — on Mercedes-Benz’s own e-commerce platform through the rather aptly named ‘MercFromHome’ experience
Getting your Mercedes-Benz from the comfort of your home is an extremely straightforward process. You’ve just got to follow these steps:
1. Log on to the online Mercedes-Benz shop
2. Pick whether you want a new or pre-owned car, what body style and drivetrain you want, and what city you are in.
3. View all the cars in the vicinity, and pick which one suits you best: you can see on-road prices (in a few days), interior and exterior trims, deals, insurance and financing options right here.
4. You don’t need to go to multiple dealerships looking for the best deal, they come to you!
5. Personalise your car on the car configurator
6. Purchase extended warranty, road side assistance, service packages online.
7. Get a virtual consultation with a sales executive.
8. Pay online.
9. Sit back, relax and wait for your Mercedes-Benz to be delivered to your doorstep
I’m sure you have questions. How will someone spend so much money on a car without even sitting in it, is probably at the top of that list. We had the same question, so we put it forward to Santosh Iyer, the vice president of sales and marketing when he was live on the #evoConversations segment we host daily on Instagram. “We are going to ensure this experience remains. We will not take out this experience online”, said Santosh rather frankly. He told us:
1. Dealerships will remain operational, with the strictest hygiene and sanitation standards.
2. Over 60 per cent of Mercedes customers want to drive the cars before buying them and can continue to do so.
3. Test drives will take place in the most non-intrusive manner. Visiting the dealership will not be necessary.
4. You can still go to a dealership and buy a car like you always did.
Mercedes-Benz and plenty of other manufacturers are unanimous in their opinion that demand will pick up once the lockdown lifts. Santosh says, “This is not an economic impact. This is a demand-side shock if you see because a lot of our customers will definitely feel this is the right time to buy a car.” He shared with us his thoughts on the future of the car industry:
1. New products will excite the market, there is nothing better than new products to excite.
2. The demand in China and Korea is back, and business is back to normal.
3. A lot of people will introspect in the lockdown and conclude that they should allow themselves to indulge. It could be a good thing for luxury goods.
4. Our online portal for used cars has been getting bookings even in the lockdown.
“What can we do differently at this point of time? As responsible manufacturers, how do we excite the market? How do we take care of their apprehensions? Customers may not be really keen to walk into showrooms or meet people or sales guys. So, can we do it remotely? Can digitisation help?” These are the self-introspecting questions that Santosh put forward to his team at Mercedes- Benz India, and the answer that presented itself was ‘MercFromHome’. Industries have faced challenges in the past but never before have they been armed with so much technology to fight the crises. The fact that the internet is so widespread and democratic makes taking the shopping experience online perfect sense. The experience of buying a car was not so much prohibitive as was inconvenient. Now, with an online shop, you give a customer the choice of using the online platform, the dealership or both. “It’s not about the digital or physical platform. I don’t think they are competing. The key will be how we are able to merge these and how with our dealers we are able to also give a better experience,” ends Santosh.