When Daimler South East Asia decided to digitise the sales process across its Asian-based dealerships, it was looking for a solution as sleek as its Mercedes Benz cars.
The company needed a way to put everything - from catalogues and inventory information to customer relationship management systems and the interface for booking a test drive - onto a single, seamless, digital platform.
It turned to Buuuk to bring the Mercedes Benz experience to an app, and design an integrated application that put the right pricing and availability information at hand, anytime, anywhere. Sales consultants would be able to retrieve fleet specifications and media in seconds and finalise sales quickly, sparing customers cumbersome paperwork.
A process that used to take at least two hours, even for the most focused buyer, could now be done in minutes and a luxury experience delivered even before the customer got behind the wheel.
The search for the right partner
Daimler’s team knew it needed to smoothen the customer journey with an integrated platform that made information available in one place, and that was both visual and customer friendly.
The platform also needed to be consistent with the Mercedes Benz brand image
It needed a design partner that would do more than simply execute on ideas – it needed one with a point of view, and that could help evolve the product. Daimler found this in Buuuk, which went on to design both a full-featured and then a lite version a year later.
Design-thinking at work
From a technical standpoint, the challenge was clear – the app needed to seamlessly integrate up to 12 back-end systems provided by multiple vendors into a single platform, allowing a sales consultant to sell a car – anywhere.
But for the platform to be embraced and really turn around the sales process, Buuuk’s team needed to understand exactly how clients were currently being served in each market, and the opportunities and challenges this presented.
During the phased, three-year project, the Buuuk team immersed itself with Daimler’s staff and sales teams in Australia, Thailand, and Taiwan. It conducted research and workshops, and even behaviour analysis, and allowing that to guide the design of the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A feedback loop allowed for early iterations to be constantly refined.
The peculiarities of the sales process in each market were also carefully considered, allowing the app interface to be customised on the front-end, and still lead to a consistent back-end system.
This replaced a sales journey that was process-orientated and involved manual information retrieval with one that enabled selling. Everything was at the consultant’s fingertips which meant that they never had to leave the customer’s side – making for a premium experience.
Data was being intelligently collected and made sense of, and customers could explore specification options and availability, and even customise their new set of wheels. Meanwhile, “layers” of information meant sales staff could securely access additional or sensitive information where needed, as well as detailed customer information, including preferences.
Buuuk's Design process
THE GOAL: A minimalist but functional design that would incorporate the features the client wanted – and those that would serve its customers best. The app and its functions also needed to translate well across the various markets in which it would be used.
THE PROCESS: We began with exploring the core features and designing solutions to challenges, while making this massive platform more seamless. We worked closely with Daimler’s in-house engineers, seeking opportunities for improvement and taking an iterative approach that allowed us to adapt solutions as we developed.
Through multiple iterations
Each solution involved steps where we also teamed up with their in-house engineers to ensure what would be the perfect solution. As the system was huge, there were no set time to when designs can be done. There were always opportunities for improvement, and each time we get better at understanding and devising new solutions along the way.
In addition to executing ideas, our goal was to provide strategic expertise and evolve the singular platform further from traditional paperworks.
A flexible product
Two of Daimler’s Asian markets, Japan and Korea, have already adopted the full-feature version of the app, with almost all deals in Korea now closed using SalesTouch. Three other markets – Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan – are piloting this version of the app.
Meanwhile, six markets – Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Philippines, Singapore, and Egypt – use the lite version. Because the app is fully modular, additional features from the full version can be added when needed. The simplified version of the app can also be used in showrooms or at sale events to allow customers to enter a media-rich environment and even take a virtual spin.
In both, Daimler has a product that Buuuk has helped make leaner, faster and as simple as possible, while being intuitive for consultants.
Ultimately, it was Buuuk’s approach to design thinking and willingness to question the client’s assumptions that made for a better product, and we enjoy and value our continuing partnership with Daimler.