Name: Scott AndrewsTitle: Former group digital transformation directorCompany: InchcapeCommenced role: April 2019Reporting line: APAC CEOMember of the executive team: YesTechnology Function: 200 staff, 8 direct reports
For global independent passenger vehicle distributor, Inchcape, getting the car-buying experience right for consumers is vital. This is especially crucial as the rapid emergence of battery electric vehicles has fundamentally changed how consumers engage with vehicle manufacturers.
“Developing a scalable car buying experience that can effectively span across the globe and accommodate the preferences of over 40 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who rightfully demand direct influence over the brand experience, presents a formidable challenge,” says Scott Andrews, Inchcape’s former group digital transformation director.
To address these challenges, Andrews and his team developed and rolled out the Digital Experience Platform (DXP).
The platform has significantly transformed the company’s operations and customer experience across global markets, Andrews says.
Integration, personalisation & transparency
“With a focus on seamless integration, personalisation, and transparency, the DXP has redefined the way customers engage with Inchcape’s automotive offerings.”
Creating a simple and intuitive customer experience is an intricate and complex process, however. So, Inchcape invested significant time and resources to ensure every step of the online buying journey is fast, easy, and contactless, says Andrews.
“From the moment a customer visits the website to the final delivery of their brand-new vehicle, every detail has been meticulously designed to exceed expectations.”
The journey begins with a user-friendly OEM branded website that allows customers to browse through an extensive range of vehicles. The platform provides comprehensive details, including specifications, features, and pricing options, to help customers make informed decisions. They can then customise their vehicle with a few clicks – selecting colours, accessories, and additional options.
To streamline the process, Inchcape integrated advanced technology into the platform, says Andrews.
“Seamless integration with inventory systems ensures real-time availability updates, eliminating any ambiguity or disappointment during the purchase. Furthermore, the platform incorporates robust payment gateways, guaranteeing secure transactions and providing customers with peace of mind.”
After focusing on the platform’s rollout during 2020 and 2021, Andrews and his team shifted their attention towards integration and enhancing the platform’s capabilities in 2022.
“One of the greatest challenges in creating this exceptional online experience lies in the complex integration of various systems and databases, he says.
And so, Andrews and his team had to work diligently to connect the platform with existing systems and infrastructure to ensure a smooth flow of information and a seamless customer journey. Every aspect from inventory management to financing and insurance options, is synchronised to provide a hassle-free experience.
To address the increasing demand for contactless interactions, customers can complete the entire purchasing process online, including financing and insurance applications. Digital signatures and secure document uploads allow for a fully remote and paperless transaction.
Robust data analytics and advanced algorithms
“Behind the scenes, robust data analytics and advanced algorithms are at work,” says Andrews.
“These systems continually analyse customer preferences and behaviours, allowing Inchcape to offer personalised recommendations and tailored promotions. By leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the platform learns from each interaction, continuously improving the customer experience.”
One of the most critical objectives Andrews and his team were tasked with was to accelerate the introduction of DXP by getting it live in 25 of Inchcape’s main revenue generating markets.
This meant Andrews and his leadership team, who were primarily based in Australia, would need to collaborate with at least 15 different countries and just as many time zones. Plus, they would have to integrate DXP with multiple legacy systems in almost every market it was being rolled out to.
“That was an incredibly audacious objective,” says Andrews.
“The first step was collaborating with each region to create a plan that would make delivering the objective possible. Once we had that, we took measuring our progress to a whole new level. So important was getting DXP in 25 global markets to the group exec and board, we moved to daily reporting progress.”
In the end, Andrews and his team overachieved the objective – after an “extraordinary effort”, launching the platform in 27 markets across 11 OEM partners.
Emphasis on customer satisfaction
By embracing technology and focusing on simplicity, Andrews and his team have helped redefine the car-buying experience for Inchcape and its customers.
“With a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction, we successfully created a platform that sets a new benchmark for the sector.”
The platform has been fundamental to the Inchcape’s digital transformation, especially given the shifting nature of the industry – with the rise of EVs and the changing expectations of customers, says Andrews.
“People want more of a digital experience, both in terms of buying and ownership of vehicles. Similarly, OEMs know digital is vital for the future of our industry and want to partner with businesses that are making the right investments.”
Benefits of the platform include access to more customers with a 24 per cent increase in “marketable customers” – customers who opt into the company’s marketing communications.
It has also improved efficiencies increasing sales conversions, the proportion of marketable customers who order a vehicle, by 15 per cent.
And wherever Inchcape has deployed DXP, customer satisfaction scores have risen, Andrews says.
These achievements are a testament to having digital, data and analytics at the core of Inchcape’s growth strategy, with group CEO Duncan Tait acknowledging that DXP was fundamental to the company achieving its growth objectives, says Andrews.
Andrews believes that strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation.
“When you have digital as a key enabler of strategy, together with transparency and ownership from your top executives, you can do more than just meet business objectives, you can exceed them,” he says.
Louis van Wyk