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Mercedes is turning the concept of car dealerships on its head

2019-10-18 12:00

Sean Parker

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How people buy cars now and in the future is a fluid process according to Mercedes-Benz.

The German luxury automaker says by 2025, 25% of all purchases will be online. In fact, in South Africa you can already buy a Mercedes-Benz via your smartphone.  

"The digitalisation is changing the way we live and do business. Customers around the world expect to be able to interact online with their brands anywhere and at any time," said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales & Marketing. 

The automaker hosted its Best Customer Experience 4.0 earlier this year with large scale updates to its Mercedes Me app, the Mercedes me ID, a transformation of its dealerships into experience.

Check out a Twitter thread: 

Mercedes Me app, the Mercedes me ID, is a physical retail as a point of experience and the seamless customer journey across all online and offline channels.

"Cars have already turned into smartphones on four wheels - always on and connected," Seeger says. "With the Stuttgart-based company's MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), they feel they have the best platform for digital access. 

"Picture a scenario whereby you see a car on Instagram, click on the link to set up a test drive, and order the car via your tablet once you get back home. It can be done. 

"The overarching theme of the company's Best Customer Experience 4.0 is aiming to "seamlessly merging digital channels with physical brand experience - from online to offline." 

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                                                                  Image: Mercedes-Benz

On the topic of a physical brand experience, Mercedes-Benz Sandton, located at 92 Rivonia Road, can also be referred to as a Brand Appearance Retail store. 

By implementing the strategy showcased at Best Customer Experience, the close to 10 000sqm flagship dealership in the Sandton CBD is fully equipped to keep up with the growing digital demands of its customers. 

When I visited the showroom earlier this year, I was given a tour of the architecture, people and processes, and lastly, media and formats. 

The beautifully-designed building houses a showroom floor of over 4000sqm, a workshop area of over 5000sqm and no less than 50 workshop bays. 

The Sandton building ushers in a new experience for new and existing customers by offering 'personal contact and digital tools in the sales and service space'. 

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                                                           Image: Mercedes-Benz

From hearing the vision of what I heard at Best Customer Experience 4.0 at The Hague and seeing that dealership, to what Mercedes-Benz SA has done in Sandton, is encouraging. 

It shows how important South Africa is to the the vision and we are worthy of investment. Customers are able to use their Mercedes Me ID to log on and receive alerts for service appointments, test drives, and even sign documents.   

It's not the future, it's the reality. 

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                                                             Image: Mercedes-Benz

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