How Maruti Suzuki India transformed the auto industry through dealer digitalization
This video is a follow-up to our 2020 article showcasing the auto industry’s shift to dealer digitalization. Here we focus on how Maruti Suzuki, one of India’s leading automotive makers, brought more than 1,500 partners online and drove hyperlocal impact through its partnership with Google. Maruti Suzuki India led the charge in bringing automotive digital retailing to India, and turned the car buying experience into a customer-centric one.
A traditionally offline industry, the automotive sector in India was among the worst hit by COVID-19 in 2020. Amid the challenges of the pandemic, the need for digitalization in the automotive industry became pressing. Even pre-pandemic, the industry was witnessing a significant decline in dealer visits. COVID-19 exacerbated the situation, intensifying consumers’ preference for at-home offerings from online shopping to virtual test drives. So car dealerships needed to bring the store experience to people online.
Having started digitalizing pre-pandemic, Maruti Suzuki India was acutely aware that the rest of the auto industry needed to do the same, and quickly, to survive the pandemic. "It has helped us improve the number of walk-ins to our dealership. With Google My Business, customers are finding it very easy to reach us," said Naveen Sarawagi, director and CEO of Bimal Auto.
In this video, you’ll also learn how Maruti Suzuki India’s hyperlocal marketing program built the infrastructure to help dealerships digitalize. Creating a consistent infrastructure laid the foundation for dealers to adopt new tools, and this played an important role in transforming the car buying journey in India.
“The turning point was the realization that we need to change. We need to build the digital infrastructure,” says Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director of Maruti Suzuki India.
The successful digitalization of India’s automotive industry is proof that traditional industries can, and should, pivot to an online model if that’s what their consumers need. “We used to talk in terms of physical showrooms. But now we are talking in terms of how many of our dealerships are fully digital,” says Srivastava.
SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA: Remember earlier, we used to talk about largely physical infrastructure like number of showrooms, or number of outlets, number of cities covered and so on and so forth? But now we are talking in terms of how many of our dealers are fully digital?
SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA: The hyperlocal program allowed us to offer personalized solutions at scale. To own the digital real estate, build that great customer experience for all their auto retail needs. We have closely partnered with Google over the last four or five years. They have this great capacity to drive digitalization at scale.
SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA: This partnership enabled us to bring almost 1500 outlets at par with scaled training sessions for all the dealer principals and sales teams.
SANJAY PASSI: With a well laid approach by MSL and the Google team to reach high intent local audience and getting a direct connect with our customers, we were able to adapt and deliver consistently.
SANJAY PASSI: We have been able to improve our time to sales by 7 days. Drive 14% incremental leads at 20% lesser cost.
SANJAY PASSI: Improve our dealership margins by 2%.
SANJAY PASSI: And last but not the least, we have been able to connect with our customers for new car sales, service and other requirements.
NAVEEN SARAWGI: Quite a few dealerships had their own websites, each one of them was trying to do things in a very different way. With the hyperlocal program, they have now been able to align that to one single platform.
NAVEEN SARAWGI: Our number of leads has gone up by about 34%, our conversions have almost become 2x of what it used to be.
NAVEEN SARAWGI: It has also helped us to improve the number of walk-ins to our dealership. With Google My Business, customers are finding it very easy to reach us. So the team now is practically getting the leads in their pocket, and the quality of leads is obviously improving as it goes along.
SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA: The number of leads delivered through hyperlocal, they are more than 183,000.
SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA: That I think has been the power of partnership with Google.