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Automotive e-commerce 3.0 – A great era for OEMs


"Auto e-commerce" first entered our lexicon following the 2013 "double-11" online sales promotion, which generated sales of RMB 24.3 billion in a single day. At present, the auto e-commerce market has already taken offline users of aftermarket services as a foundation for an auto ecosystem, which aims to increase customer stickiness to an offline-to-online (O2O) model. With this new model and ecosystem, the industry is entering a new era – auto e-commerce 3.0.

Roland Berger's latest report "Automotive e-commerce 3.0 – A great era for OEMs" analyzes future trends in the structuring of auto e-commerce platforms. According to the report, OEMs enjoy a first-mover advantage in the coming era of auto e-commerce 3.0. In the emerging auto e-commerce ecosystem characterized by the O2O model, OEMs will enjoy significant advantages.

In its early stages of development, auto e-commerce was essentially limited to extensive online marketing, and the main players were vertical online sales platforms. Online sales, generally viewed as playing only a supporting role by OEMs and dealers, were handled separately from offline sales. This early stage, termed "1.0," lasted for about one year. Over the past three years, however, with major e-commerce platforms realizing the importance of integrating online and offline user data and more platforms making forays into offline sales, a complete O2O auto e-commerce ecosystem has gradually begun to take shape.

According to estimates, China's O2O auto e-commerce sales are expected to grow at an annual rate of 20-30%, reaching nearly RMB 225 billion by 2016. Roland Berger believes that platforms operated by OEMs will be the first players to capitalize on the huge potential of "3.0." OEMs possess three major advantages over vertical sites, integrated e-commerce sites and other models:

1) OEMs are able to quickly activate an offline user base and dealer resources, allowing their customer base to quickly reach a critical mass;

2) diversified channels can be easily put in place for online customer interaction, and users are already drawn online by in-car computer systems and CRM systems;

3) membership programs can be used to create an integrated ecosystem and enhance the effectiveness of a multilateral network.


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