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There isn’t any question the automotive industry has adapted to technological disruptors since the first working car made its debut. Trends such as wireless technologies, IoT, evolving customer expectations, and even the IoT have driven digitization in the sector.

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Further, the automotive value chain from design to manufacturing and retail is integrated with various technologies and automation. According to the Frost & Sullivan Future of Mobility report, automotive IT spending will rise from $38 billion in 2015 to around $168 billion in 2025. Much of the investment will focus on big data, connectivity, and artificial intelligence.

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What does automotive digital transformation entail?

For new car sales, eCommerce has proven a viable customer channel despite some consumers preferring traditional methods of test driving a car in person and “kicking the tires,” so to speak. In addition,  the increased push to use interactive tablets in showrooms did not have a major impact on the customer experience. Thus, the buying process has changed slowly.

However, as more car consumers begin to rely more heavily on digital channels, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic where many had to depend on online shopping to meet their needs, the digitization of the automotive industry is also accelerating in conjunction. Why is this significant? Well, it’s crucial for dealers and manufacturers to invest in platforms that connect with customers where they want them to be, which is automotive eCommerce

Is digital transformation essential for the automotive sector?

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Digitization makes consumers’ lives more convenient with one-click or one-tap shopping from their favorite device. The same can be said of the automotive industry, which is experiencing transformations in digitization of marketing, sales, manufacturing, and maintenance.

What types of challenges affect the automotive industry’s digitization journey?

Advances in predictive computing, green technologies, and mobility-as-a-service connects the automotive industry with multiple sectors. Here are some challenges that may surface:

Investments

For automotive businesses that invest in digitization to improve supply chain visibility, sales efficiency, and the customer experience, the focus should be on use cases that minimize risk while driving the highest ROI. At one time autonomous vehicles were a hot topic, but have since waned in popularity and some forms of R&D. Five years ago, many expected autonomous vehicles to take over the highways by now, but that still isn’t the case. As a result, it is crucial to invest in digitalization where it makes the most sense and appeals to anticipated consumer demand.

Resistance to change

Some in the industry are stuck in the mode of not fixing what isn’t broken. Due to the fragmented nature of this sector, it’s difficult to push global initiatives around updating infrastructures and innovative manufacturing for electric cars. Further, many in the industry have taken advantage of B2C eCommerce while others have not. The obstacles are low levels of digital maturity.

Customer focus

A Qualtrics study found that digital transformation is hampered by minimal customer focus. Yet, to create a more customer-centric culture requires a top-down approach. For instance, executives at the national level must transition first then implement programs and processes that reward customer centricity. In addition, the digital experience on every device should be indistinguishable.

Fortunately, you do not have to embark on this digital journey alone. We have updated our comprehensive list of digital transformation consultants who bring expertise and experience in the automotive sector with mid-to-enterprise B2C and B2B digital transformation projects.

Digital transformation examples

The automotive industry is chock full of digital transformation examples, here are just a few: 

  • Tesla pioneered usage of artificial intelligence and big data. They use onboard sensors so they can push wireless updates to their autopilot software.
  • Volvo’s Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 models were named the best-positioned car brand for online sales and are only available online.
  • BMW launched an IoT platform at its Regensburg plant which reduced the time it took to execute new applications by 80% and mitigated quality control issues by 5%.

The top 5 automotive industry digital transformation trends

Here are the top technologically-transformative trends in the automotive industry:

Autos and the environment

With the surge of automotive eCommerce and electric vehicles, there is a high probability that electric cars will outsell gasoline-powered cars by 2040.

Connectivity

With sensors and the IoT, many of our devices are increasingly connected. Infotainment systems are evolving at a rapid clip. Further, cars can comprehend voice commands and driving habits to adapt the driver’s style. With Tesla as the pioneer, many automotive brands expect to remotely update their vehicles and see these car types and associated sales exceed 35 million by 2025.

Autonomous vehicles

There is widespread usage of machine learning and predictive driving technology throughout the automotive industry. Eventually, the public will increasingly welcome autonomous vehicles. Thus, with assisted driving mainstream, autonomous automotive products will also achieve this milestone.

Digital eCommerce

Automotive companies can use digital eCommerce to stay on top of the consumer pulse around car models and online shopping habits. Further, eCommerce sites can send data directly to the manufacturer or distributor.

PBE-automotive-digital

PBE Jobbers, an automotive supplier, worked directly with OroCommerce to digitally transform their offline businesses. For instance, they centralized customer data and increased supply chain visibility by enabling two-way integration between their ERP and CRM systems. Therefore, PBE Jobbers was able to cut costs, reduce human error, increase efficiency, scale into growing markets, and future-proof their business. 

Augmented reality

Today, customers can use virtual reality to view car showrooms and feel as if they are physically touching and test-driving a vehicle. Thus, augmented reality can help emulate the physical experience and also expand beyond OEMs to car insurance and service departments.

Digital transformation benefits

With fast-evolving advancements in technology, manufacturers have reached a fork in the road: To embark on the digital transformation journey or stick with traditional processes. Still, digital transformation induces many long-term advantages, including:

  • Drive omnichannel experiences for sales and customer service
  • Offer post-sales support and track customer satisfaction metrics
  • Streamline automotive manufacturing supply management
  • Expand into new markets selling supplies or auto parts

How can your automotive business get started?

To retain a competitive advantage in this sector, it’s vital to future-proof your business, streamline internal processes, cut costs, and grow relationships. The good news is Oro, Inc offers a suite of products that can prepare your company for the digital revolution. 

To illustrate, OroCRM is fully integrated with OroCommerce to give automotive businesses a centralized view of customers, leads, and sales data. Therefore, you can use this single source of information to make data-driven decisions that help your company to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.

Further, OroCommerce is one of the few B2B eCommerce platforms built from the ground up and designed to align with various corporate structures and B2B workflows. It offers unparalleled flexibility concerning payments, invoicing, ordering, pricing calculations, shipping options, and more.

Wherever you’re located, and whatever B2B eCommerce challenges your business faces, Oro helps you get to market faster with proven digitized solutions.


Transform your automotive business today

These are thrilling times for the automotive industry. The question remains: Should you digitize only parts of your business such as manufacturing or sales or should you approach digital transformation as an inseparable means of operating your business? We think you know the answer now.

Ready to dive into digital? Learn why OroCommerce is a leader in the B2B eCommerce market and how our solutions are intrinsically designed to accelerate B2B automotive sales.