Exploring trends in personalisation across all market segments

Customer personalisation is not a new concept – the ability for buyers to individualise their cars to reflect their lifestyle and personality has increased significantly.

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When it comes to personalisation, things have changed beyond recognition since Henry Ford’s famous remark about the Model T over a century ago. He said that “A customer can have a car painted in any colour, so long as it’s black.” Black paint dried more quickly than other colours, which enabled the Model T to meet Ford’s objective of building a cost-effective car for the mass market. Over its 18-year cycle, more than 15 million Model Ts rolled off the production line, which set the foundations for mass vehicle production.

Customer personalisation is not a new concept, however. The ability for buyers to individualise their cars to reflect their lifestyle and personality has increased significantly. Whether it’s body style, colour, powertrain or trim level, the scale of options available is massive. This trend for uniqueness also reflects a broader shift by consumers away from purchasing more generic products, as illustrated by Deloitte’s 2015 ‘Made to Order’ consumer review. The study found that, in the era of digitisation, consumers have much higher expectations and desire a point of difference. The research highlighted that consumers want their interactions with businesses and the products and services they buy from them to be tailor made, rather than ‘one size fits all.’

Historically, the level of options would increase as models became more expensive but no longer. Manufacturer brands such as Audi, DS and MINI seek to attract customers by offering a wide range of personalisation options on their entry-level models that may have only been previously available on products higher up their respective ranges.

LifeShine provides dealers the opportunity to offer a highly effective means of maintaining the pristine appearance of a new vehicle, whilst securing incremental business.

For example, the MINI Yours programme offers customers a wide range of exterior paint finishes, alloy wheels, upholstery and interior colour schemes, plus mirror caps, additional headlamps, roof decor and graphic elements. MINI claims this creates almost limitless options for making every MINI made-to-measure that reflects a customer’s individual taste.

Whilst personalisation has extended to a much broader range of vehicles across almost every market segment, luxury brands such as Bentley have not stood still. October 2016 saw the opening of Bentley Studio London at Westfield London, one of the capital’s premier shopping destinations, to showcase the brand’s Mulliner personalisation programme. Mulliner offers virtually anything a customer could desire, from bespoke leather and stitching patterns, through to atomisers crafted in sterling silver to create an aroma of the customer’s choosing in the cabin.

LifeShine Aftercare Collection

Customers maintain a pristine appearance with the LifeShine Aftercare Collection.

A vehicle’s paint finish is the most visible form of personalisation, demonstrating a customer’s desire for exclusivity by selecting a colour and finish not offered on a specific model’s colour range. For example, Audi’s Exclusive programme enables customers to specify a colour across its entire range, whether it’s Jet Blue from the R8 Coupé or Alpine White from the original Audi Quattro. Alternatively, for customers with a particular colour in mind, Audi will mix the exact metallic or pearl-effect shade, subject to factory approval.

Satisfying the demand for personalisation is equally important when it comes to third-party brands in the showroom, such as Autoglym’s LifeShine vehicle protection system (VPS). Featuring unique Carbon Shield TechnologyTM, LifeShine provides dealers the opportunity to offer a highly effective means of maintaining the pristine appearance of a new vehicle, whilst securing incremental business. Here, LifeShine’s exterior and interior surface protection proposition is especially relevant, thanks to its ability to mitigate against the effects of the elements and contaminants on the paintwork, or spilt food and drink on interior surfaces.

To get this message across, Autoglym supports dealers with a range of measures including the LifeShine App, a simple-to-use interactive tool that enables sales staff to present the features and benefits of LifeShine to customers on a desktop, tablet or mobile. It’s no wonder then that LifeShine is endorsed by brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Jaguar, Land Rover, as well as Honda, Kia, Mazda and MG.

To discover more about your dealership can benefit from supplying LifeShine, call us on 01462 677766 or email lifeshine@autoglym.com.

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