From XUV700 to Astor and Ola, how Indians are clicking away to book online2 min read . Updated: 21 Oct 2021, 01:53 PM IST
Buying a car on a laptop or phone may have seemed like a preposterous suggestion just a few years ago. But the digital transformation has been stunning with more and more people logging to the web to either book or purchase their favourite ride.
The digital world has fast emerged as a very real world for prospective customers to make a reservation for their new car or two-wheeler. With almost every OEM offering the dual facility of logging online or walking into showrooms to make a booking, the pace of reservation for some of the newer and popular models has become lightning quick.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown pushed many manufacturers to open digital routes for interested buyers at a time when actual showrooms had to be shuttered to abide by government rules and regulations. The ease as well as safety of being at home and yet be able to purchase a vehicle appealed to many. And while most may still agree that virtual product walkaround and interactions are secondary to actually experiencing a vehicle in person, the process of at least making a booking has still managed to woo many.
Ola Electric S1 scooter
Take the case of Ola Electric, a company that has no physical store anywhere in the country. Yet, the S1 electric scooter, its debut product, saw massive traction on the company website once the reservation window. Ola Electric sold battery-powered scooters worth ₹600 crores on just the first day and ₹1100 crore in the first two days. It sold four units per second. And all of this happened digitally.
True there are other factors involved too - a relatively low booking amount of ₹499, this amount being refundable, the product itself, among others. But it is still testament to a possible trend that the customer for a two-wheeler isn't averse to the idea of at least making a booking online rather than walking into a dealership.
As far as dealer outlets are concerned, Mahindra has quite a strong presence across the country. Yet, the company also opened digital channels for bookings for its latest SUV - XUV700. The company managed to sell out all 25,000 units of XUV in under an hour on Day 1 and the next 25,000 in under two hours on Day 2 of reservation windows being opened. While how many of these were made online isn't known yet but it would be a safe assumption - seeing the brisk pace of bookings, that most may have happened online.
On Thursday, MG Motor India put up 5,000 units of the latest Astor SUV. All of these units lined up for 2021 were sold out in around 20 minutes. Once again, it would be safe to assume that because the units were sold out in under an hour, most - if not all - were made through digital means.
Almost every major OEM, from Hyundai, Toyota to Tata Motors and even luxury car brands like Mercedes are increasingly focusing on digital channels to reach out to customers. Bookings for the upcoming Audi Q5 too have been opened both online and at dealerships. And while digital payment channels require a high degree of caution, brands underline their respective commitment to financial safety, transparency and clarity for everyone who logs online.