Covid-19 wreaked havoc on various sectors, forcing businesses to pivot, adapt, and embrace new technology at breakneck speed. They were able to address rising client needs across all touchpoints thanks to this digital revolution. All of this applied to the car business as well.

Plant closures, supply chain disruptions, components shortages, and poor car sales all created significant hurdles for India, the world's fifth largest auto market. However, both manufacturers and customers have embraced the new digital solutions. Online dealerships, home test drives, and e-registrations were among them. In the recent year, the automotive industry has seen a strong rate of technological adoption, surpassing the combined pace of the previous five years.

Consumers' rising confidence in digital mediums has resulted in speedier purchasing decisions due to their simplicity of use, safety, openness, and transparency. According to the Google Auto Gear Shift India 2020 report, 95% of new vehicle buyers and 94% of used car purchasers conduct their research online first. As a result, it's critical to pay attention to the brand's digital profile and cultivate an online image of customer-centricity.

Using technology to keep clients first

Following the epidemic, automakers are considering a 'phygital' strategy that combines digital and physical activities to reach consumers. Maruti Suzuki, for example, has digitalized 24 of the 26 touchpoints in a car buying path, from inquiry through booking, with test drives and delivery remaining a physical experience. Similarly, Tata Motors' e-commerce platform, 'Click to Drive,' has enabled contactless end-to-end purchases. In the first quarter of 2021, internet sales accounted for 15% of Mercedes-Benz India's total sales.

Reduced product life cycles, speed to market, cost pressure, market instability, and competitiveness are all difficulties that the car industry continues to confront. The only path ahead is to integrate technology into all parts of manufacturing, sales, and consumer connectivity. Vehicle makers have been embracing technology tools like Automation, AI, ML, Analytics, Big Data, and IoT for an improved customer experience, from applying algorithms that use data for automated operations during vehicle setup to enabling greater communication with smart devices.

In India's car sector, automation and robots have the biggest market share. They have decreased their reliance on human labour. Many advantages of automation are being recognised by automakers, including mass manufacturing, shorter time to market, and safer, environmentally friendly automobiles.

Phygital is the way of the future.

Automobile manufacturers must be present where their clients are as customer journeys progressively migrate to digital channels. As a result, making online shopping as accessible, transparent, cost-effective, and convenient as possible is critical.

Omnichannel players are already offering greater convenience to customers while bridging the customer requirement gap by exploiting new generation technology. Dealerships also have the benefit of better inventory management depending on retail success. They are able to provide clients with a 'phygital' experience in this way, which is a trend that is expected to continue in the future.