What will it mean to be a luxury car manufacturer in an age of autonomous driving? The answer for BMW lies in focusing on the in-car experience and how to use technology to meet the rising expectations of consumers. BMW's VP of Digital Products and Services emphasizes that BMW must become a customer centric company that builds digital services for their cars that provide electronic channels and touch points for customers that ultimately create a direct relationship between BMW and their customers. BMW will look to provides apps, and personal assistants to their customers, but more importantly, they will begin look to communicate with their customers throughout their entire ownership lifecycle.
Historically, dealerships have owned the customer relationship and although BMW wants this to change, they won't cut out dealerships altogether. Customers will still depend on dealerships for their servicing needs for example. Dieter May, BMW's VP of Digital Products and Services, has stated that BMW's interest in owning a larger part of the customer relationship will result in dealers sharing data with BMW, just as BMW will share data with them.
The transformation for BMW is significant, and depicts a future where BMW may extract revenue from their customers outside of the sale of cars. In the future, BMW could sell you an electric car and the flat-rate subscription service you would use to charge it. To accomplish this transformation, BMW is betting on things like connected cars and an always connected vehicle. By having vehicles that are always connected via the cloud, BMW can now upgrade in-car software. BMW now also tracks active users and engagement numbers on their ConnectedDrive system, and works to improve these numbers with each and every update. The approach is remarkably similar to those taken by internet consumer companies and these similarities will no doubt increase as BMW looks to increase customer engagement and own the customer relationship.
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