A Car Matchmaking Service, For Life as it Happens
- Digital Platforms
- Marketing Services
Get to Know BMW
Founded over 100 years ago to develop airships and aircraft engines, the BMW Group is now one of the world's leading manufacturers of premium automobiles and motorcycles, and provider of premium financial and mobility services with 31 production and assembly plants in 15 countries and a global sales network.
More Than a Car Configurator
Buying a car is not just a series of pragmatic decisions; it’s not just how big the trunk is, how many seats you need or if it´s good for the kids. It´s also about what your car says about you. How does it reflect your personality?
Originally, this project was to create a more seamless experience for customers to conveniently find BMW stock cars, but as the concept developed, so too did the experience.
We wanted to create a configuration service tool that enables you to find the car you need and to get the car keys same day.
It all began with us wanting to have the power of choice when it comes to online sales. The power of choice means owning the data and being able to adapt and develop based on the insights you get from it. Before, we depended on third party websites listing stock cars together with every other car brand out there like a restaurant menu. That is not good enough anymore. To exceed customer expectations, we need to keep them in our own channels all the way to conversion and dealer purchase. So, next question was when we own this data, what kind of experience do we want to give our customers?
head of Digital, BMW Nothern Europe
Transforming the Customer Journey
The need from the client was clear, “Up until now, our ‘online sales’ of cars in stock has required us to give our car data to third party websites, and buying that data back in the shape of a car ad with homemade photographs, which we then can use as lead generators on our dealer websites. It´s a customer journey from hell. Please help us!”
First we needed BMW to own their destiny, and that meant owning their own data. Then we considered the differences between in-person and digital car purchases.
People go to car dealerships to get familiar with all of the different models in-person. But what if you could get the same detail and reassurance, digitally?
Introducing the Digital Sales Advisor
If you are familiar with the products, you can go straight to the cars available right away and place your order. But if you are new, or need help finding the right BMW for you, you can go through this matchmaking service. Fill in the hard values; how many passengers will there be? Do you need child seats? Do you need extra luggage space? and you'll see all of the models that fit your needs.
Out of those models, you then adjust the soft values, based on your preferences, personality, design statement and so on, leaving you with the results that fit you the best, followed by secondary choices that also fit you in a ranking order.
Next, you can go to the digital showroom and configure and tailor your chosen model then order that specific car at a dealership of your choice.
Building a Platform is Only Half the Battle
We saw this as a great opportunity to improve communication, centralizing the human behind the purchase. Car campaigns have been more or less molded in the same shape since the beginning. But having a matchmaking service like this as a foundation makes it possible to communicate BMW’s whole fleet of cars to the different audiences they are relevant for. Thanks to BMW’s big range, we can truly match the right people to their product within the same concept and campaign.
Preparing for the Future
We started the campaign with a test: Hard value communication, with product focus against emotional storytelling, both targeted women 30 - 55.
We tried, learned, and tried harder. This sums up the approach we wanted to implement throughout our process. In this responsive and interactive project, we needed to go beyond wireframes and sketches, so we coded real prototypes to make user testing closer to reality. This gave us the opportunity to make better design decisions for the end product.
We realized that we needed to define each model’s characteristics and personality. We let data and user insights lead the way to create a personality matrix. With this matrix we could easily translate seat counts, luggage space and desired car characteristics to usable data for the customers. This bridges the gap between formal stock list car data and the BMW experience.
To be able to adopt this approach all the way and include the technology, we decided to go for a solution that is flexible and scalable for both future needs of functionality, integrations and markets, but also for traffic and performance requirements.