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Growing Appetite for Apps

Video distribution channels will evolve from the current email and SMS to incorporate apps, as OEMs create increasingly sophisticated digital solutions for customers.

Apps are already widely used, and it will only be a matter of time before OEMs develop versions which deliver more connected services to make the lives of its customers even easier. As app usage increases and customers realise their ease and value in managing their motoring requirements, it is inevitable automotive video communications will become more widely accessible in this way.

Apps provide an even greater bridge for dealers and OEMs to connect a customer’s digital experience with the physical dealership. Apps are making straddling the physical and digital a seamless process for customers who are demanding easier ways to connect with service and product providers.

Capgemini has explored how innovative and usable digital solutions can deliver added value for customers and retailers. This includes an app that could use image analysis to detect damage to the car, and provide an initial estimate of the repair requirements and costs. The assessment could also be undertaken by anyone – not necessarily a bodyshop specialist – and could even take place at the customer’s front door.

Autotrader has put together its own list of top manufacturer apps, many of which enable owners to park their car remotely, remind them where their vehicle is parked, heat or cool it, check the electric or fuel range, put together a route and organise playlists.

Tesla’s app provides the car’s charge state and available range, doubles up as a key for keyless unlocking and driving, and lets you set the cabin temperature before a journey. It also lets you restrict the high power output and glovebox should someone else be driving. Volvo’s On Call app provides direct access to its team of operators so you can call for roadside assistance or make an SOS call in an emergency. It also includes remote locking, climate control, and navigation support.

Volkswagen’s Car-Net provides a range of apps including smartphone integration, allowing favourite apps and information to be shared with the car’s dashboard interface. Mercedes’ me connect provides Remote Parking Assist so you use your phone to pilot your car into a garage or parking space, whilst top of the range models have access to Concierge Services. Smart’s cross connect app provides access to radio and infotainment controls, a navigation system and trip information.

It makes sense for sales and service videos to be accessed via apps which are increasingly providing an all-round service and brand experience. Dealers will have to adapt and embrace the omnichannel if they haven’t done so already – as if a customer has accessed a brand via its app, all collateral will be expected to come this way.

Apps are the future – and we’ll be continuing to invest in our own as well as developing in line with the needs of OEMs.