Five years ago, the average car buyer made seven visits to a dealership before purchase. Today, it takes less than two.
Automotive consumers around the world are empowered as never before, with digital research tools to consider every product spec and media review, as well as where to shop conveniently.
That’s why Nissan is investing in Helios, said Nissan chief planning officer Andy Palmer, tasking firm DigitasLBi to design and develop the global digital platform to elevate brand presence and the consumer experience worldwide.
“Digital is really the catalyst to this transformation,” said Palmer. “It’s about raising the overall opinion of our brands, whether Nissan, Datsun, Infiniti, Renault or Dacia. It’s all about raising the customer’s opinion. And it’s vital that we disrupt in this space. This is where the fight is going to be. This is where the hearts and minds of future buyers of vehicles are going to be won and lost.”
Marketing executives from Nissan, Infiniti and Renault-Nissan Alliance partner Renault attended a recent Global Digital Summit focused on Helios. From the end of this year, Helios will eventually serve 270 digital sites for 100 markets worldwide.
Global CEO of DigitasLBi, Luke Taylor, said the platform will drive the next-generation customer experience.
“We’re creating a product and a tool set that we can evolve very aggressively and very fast in response to the market and changing customer tastes and opinions, and it is also uniquely responsive across every digital touch point,” said Taylor. “So the way we’re building this is that it will work in a best-in-class way across tablets and mobile phones, across the experiential and dealer experience.”
Yoking five brands to empower a global marketing and sales force will not happen overnight, but Helios will make Nissan a truly engaged player across the consumer experience, says Nissan’s chief digital officer and general manager DeLu Jackson.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to move our digital capabilities forward,” said Jackson. “As an industry, there have been automotive companies that have invested in large markets like the U.S. or China, but to do it globally so that all of our markets have capability – that is what we set out to do. We operate in 170 markets globally when you add those brands together, and we’re going to deliver these services for all of those markets, which means we become a strong global digital brand.”
Executives point to the travel industry as an example of how transformative the digital consumer experience can quickly become, with Nissan tests coming in fall and then launches in India and the UK.