Scala Drives Sales at Russian Car Dealership Chekhov Auto creates a multichannel digital signage network to educate customers, generate inquiries and increase sales conversion rates
Case study executive overview
Dismart, the first Scala Certified Partner in Russia, has created an innovative multi-channel customer-facing digital signage network for Chekhov Auto, an auto sales and service business located near Moscow.
Chekhov Auto appointed Dismart to create their digital signage network after they recognized a need to engage, educate and excite customers visiting their dealerships. The intention was to increase the levels of product, service and promotional visibility to all customers, and in doing so convert browsers to buyers and up-sell services and accessories. In short, the network was to act as a complementary sales and marketing tool to the existing sales and service teams.
The method chosen to best respond to this need by Chekhov Auto was digital signage, in this case the creation of a multichannel digital signage network across both the retail sales area and service departments. These were created to provide up-to-date product and service information on GM, Chevrolet, Kia and Hyundai brands to prospective clients while they browsed in the showroom or waited for their vehicles to be serviced.
The network carries a variety of content created specifically for the network by Chekhov Auto’s marketing department and also repurposes advertising and technical information supplied by each motor manufacturer to support ongoing marketing and sales campaigns.
The network is managed, funded and championed by Chekhov Auto’s commercial department and has been deployed as part of a packaged solution that also uses static signage, product sheets and other retail channels to promote particular models, service products, special discounts and accessories.
The decision-making process involved in car purchasing is arguably more complex than most other forms of retail purchasing and is governed by a variety of influencing factors. Some customers bring a certain knowledge and expectation of a brand and a car when they enter the showroom. There are also customers who do not take much interest in or have much knowledge of brands or cars. For some, the experience can be technically, financially and emotionally daunting, while for others it is an opportunity to haggle for a good price. Clearly, no one rule fits all.
“Chekhov Auto knew that a percentage of prospective customers that visited their dealership chose to browse but not to buy, with some engaging with the sales and service teams and others not. Conversely, customers waiting to have other brands of cars serviced may not have been aware of the features, benefits and pricing options available for new and nearly new cars sold at the dealership. Clearly, there was a need to examine how best to reach 100% of prospective customers in a meaningful and engaging way and increase conversion rates.”
– Arthur Rubanovich, Director, Dismart Russia
The signage solution was deemed the most appropriate way to convey a wide range of dealer, brand and promotional information quickly and efficiently to inform customers, provide choice and promote conversations between customers and the sales and service team members.
The purpose was to provide prospective customers with an opportunity to view the latest information at their own pace without necessarily interacting with a member of the sales and service team. Having this information might then prompt an initial conversation with Chekhov Auto staff.
The Creative Solution
Chekhov Auto recognized that a straightforward approach was required to ensure all of its customers received key information on a particular brand or type of vehicle or financial promotion easily and clearly using visuals, video and animation to convey the message while the customer moved throughout the showroom. The creative solution was to develop two channels of content to reflect the mindset of the customer depending on their reason for being at the dealership and to do so in an easily consumable format.
The Showroom Channel
The first channel, or the “Showroom Channel,” provides key brand and product information. This channel includes the repurposing of branded TV commercials and other marketing information from featured motor manufacturers in an animated environment to help customers understand the benefits of different types of vehicles (e.g., urban, 4×4 or station wagon) and to promote what the car is best designed to do.
The Showroom Channel has been created to balance the information it provides in a complementary form to the showroom stars, the cars. It has been carefully designed to enable browsers to listen to the channel and clearly understand the messages without necessarily watching it, giving customers the time and the opportunity to view and test the cars on display.
The channel also provides opportunities for Chekhov Auto to place pricing, accessory, discount, automotive services, and financial services information on the screen using Scala and to update this information as often as it sees fit on an offer-by-offer basis. This not only helps sell the cars but cross-sells Chekhov Auto’s other products and services to provide the customer with the assurance that they can receive full service and peace of mind from Chekhov Auto.
The network aims to improve the customer experience by helping the customer make a better buying decision. When the customer approaches a member of the sales or service team to request further information, the conversation is more informed and therefore more productive. In all likelihood it will facilitate an increase in conversions to sales.
With the Showroom Channel operating as a sales and marketing support device, Chekhov Auto has placed its customers first by designing the network to reflect the retail environment they are in and by offering the right information at the right time, reducing any real or perceived gaps in knowledge between the customer and staff.
The Service Channel
While customers in the Showroom area may have their own dedicated channel to help them make informed purchase decisions, so to do customers waiting to have their cars serviced at Chekhov Auto.
Typically, a car service may take from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the work required. If a customer decides to wait, in most instances they appreciate having something to watch.
Rather than simply provide old magazines or a television playing terrestrial TV to keep customers happy, Chekhov Auto and Dismart created a second channel designed to provide a wide range of bespoke content to waiting customers, providing the business with control over the content and ensuring customers had every opportunity to see complementary products and services offered by Chekhov Auto.
Additionally, a percentage of service customers have older cars, some of which are nearing or at the end of their life, and these owners may be about to accrue large servicing bills and in some instances may need to replace their cars. So it made sense to promote new and nearly new cars and associated showroom services to customers waiting in the service area. The Service Channel provides service customers with key information promoting new cars, warranty and service packages, insurance information and other content that is both helpful and relevant to the driver/owner.
The format of the Service Channel is different from the Showroom Channel because of customer waiting time. With car services typically lasting between 30 minutes and 1 hour, educational, informational or promotional items can be showcased in a longer broadcast. While in the showroom, channel content can only be between 10-20 seconds, content in the waiting room maybe up to 40 seconds long. The overall duration and repetition of the channels are also designed to reflect viewing and waiting times. For example, a shorter viewing opportunity on the showroom channel means content is shorter but repeated more frequently to engage as many customers as possible. The service channel’s overall broadcast duration is longer to match longer waiting times as the customer is likely to see most, if not all, of the content in each visit.
Variations in content type and length between the Showroom Channel and the Service Channel are managed by Dismart using Scala, whereby content can be repurposed and scheduled to each channel on a needs basis (needs ranging from promotions to discounts to new car launches).
Providing informative and engaging digital signage content to queuing or waiting customers in retail, banks and medical waiting rooms has proven to consistently reduce customers’ perceived waiting times and in doing so, creates a more positive environment for both customers and staff. In applying the same principles to auto service areas, Chekhov Auto decided to develop the network a stage further by developing a “live update service” so that at any point, the service team manager could inform waiting customers of estimated waiting times or to inform them that their car is ready for collection. A Scala-equipped PC provides the user with access to customizable templates that enable the user to drop in information and publish to the screen with a few simple steps.
The rationale for this was threefold: First, to keep customers informed of estimated timescales which in turn manages customer expectations, second, to provide a “reason to watch” the screen in the waiting room, and third, to free up service team time by reducing the time spent moving between service and customer areas which enables them to spend more time servicing vehicles.
“Auto dealers the world over are turning to digital signage because it allows them to animate their products, to show them in the right context, to help customers understand the features and benefits of each variant and link these to appropriate extras and accessories plus service and financial programs. Dynamic digital signage networks such as Chekhov Auto’s enable customers to make informed choices and increase the likelihood that conversion rates will be enhanced.”
– Oscar Elizaga, VP Operations, Scala EMEA
The Solution: The Technical Solution
The eight-screen, two-channel network is powered by a Scala Content Manager. This provides Chekhov Auto with the ability to design branded and promotional content, update customers with news and weather stories and inform customers in the service area that their vehicle is ready to collect.
Scala’s system also enables both channels to be managed and content scheduled for playout by Chekhov Auto and Dismart staff as required, offering full flexibility in how and how frequently the channel is updated.
Dismart provides a network control center for the Chekhov Auto digital signage network which manages the creation, scheduling and playout of all content which in turn is managed by Scala, enabling several key features to be automated for playout on the network including news, traffic and travel information.
This is done by linking Scala to appropriate Web-based RSS feeds. Once set up, these continue to update automatically without human intervention with specific data and images being instantly inserted into Chekhov Auto branded templates for presentation on the screens at prescheduled intervals throughout the day. The Scala system feeds each of the two channels with audio and visual content via CAT5 cable.
Chekhov Auto believes that as part of a packaged solution with other retail media, the network will be able to deliver enhanced sales by educating, informing and exciting customers whether about purchasing a new car or renewing a service package for their existing car.
By enabling customers to make informed decisions quickly and easily the likelihood is that the proportion of inquiries that lead to sales will increase and it is the expectation of Chekhov Auto that in updating the network with relevant and specific content there is every likelihood that they will be able to demonstrate uplift in inquiries from the network from which their sales teams can convert to sales.
“Immediately after the installation of the network, we noticed that our customers took interest in the information presented on our screens which in turn promoted conversations between customers and our sales teams meeting one of the key objectives of the network. As the first dealership in Russia to use dynamic digital signage to inform, educate and engage our customers, I am pleased to say we have seen immediate advantages in using this communications medium and look forward to developing this with Dismart and Scala in the future.”
– Ninenko Vasily, Marketing Manager, Chekhov Auto
In 2009, Chekhov Auto is expanding to include a Volkswagen concession, and will likely expand the network to accommodate Volkswagen in its broadcast strategy.
The Dismart Company, founded in 2004, specializes in delivering digital signage solutions to the companies and public institutions. Using the very latest achievements in display and networking technology, Dismart offers full service to clients: we develop and install the software, provide technical support, train personnel to work with software more efficiently to get the most investment return, and design and install the content. Dismart cooperates with various software and hardware manufacturers in the field of digital display to ensure we deliver the best fit for our clients. Our clients include MICHELIN Russia, Russian News and Information Agency Novosti, air company KD Avia, IMTV Company (Ramstor retail network and BP filling stations), Samohval retail network, Mobil-TV (wireless advertising and information system in the surface transport facilities in the Moscow region), The Gallery Company (Mega, Europark trade center) and many others.