Persian king Xerxes was about to lead a large army to invade Sparta. He dispatched an emissary to send a letter to the city-state which contains only one sentence: “If we invade Sparta, the city would be flattened.” He never expected that the Spartans would respond with only one word: “If.”
Qoros has been trying to make changes. Over the past months, it has improved its sales performance and has been exploring new sales channels. But it is too early to predict the results, just like the new e-commerce strategy which has been jointly introduced by Qoros and its online partner Bitauto.
The strategy, called “E-Qoros,” aims to provide the most convenient channel for potential customers who want to buy a Qoros car, from getting information to test driving and purchase. The question is “if” this can be accomplished.
The “E-Qoros” launched in June is one of Qoros’ new marketing schemes. E-Qoros would combine an online platform with offline dealers to clear geographic barriers, build up a real-time sales network and provide customized purchase experience through “online sales and offline service.”
Qoros has experienced sluggish sales. Despite some progress over the past months, sales still fall behind its production capacity. Will E-Qoros directly promote sales or will it be more of a symbolic marketing tool?
Executive vice president Sun Xiaodong said that Bitauto as a “close ally” will provide customers with an exclusive offer of 10 percent off on the Qoros 3 Hatch. Bitauto CEO Shao Jingning believes that Bitauto could provide marketing assistance in terms of customers, products, services, information and capital.
Sun did not deny the incompatibility between offline dealers and E-commerce, saying that they have very different operating models. One is “in the sky” and the other is “on the ground.” Qoros is attempting to bridge the two and realize a multi-party win-win scenario among Bitauto, dealers, Qoros and consumers. Sun added that as for the dealers, he will let them understand what e-commerce would bring to them.
Shao said Bitauto could add value to Qoros in four areas: information collection of local real potential buyers, strong marketing channels, helping consumers to realize Qoros advantages and offering financial tools to make car purchases easier. In short, Bitauto will help facilitate test driving and car purchase.
Sun said Qoros is trying to realize the union between online and offline sales. E-commerce has the advantages of accuracy, convenience and socialization. It will rely on big data to locate specific groups and provide services throughout the entire process of car selection, test driving and purchase. Consumers just need to click the mouse and the car would be delivered for test driving. Also, consumers can share their experience online to make the car purchase an interesting experience.
However, consumers need to finalize the purchase process offline, which requires the support of dealers. Persuading dealers to support online sales and test driving and guaranteeing the conveniences and consistence of online sales and offline aftersales services are tough issues that Qoros has to face.
Can e-commerce really bring substantial sales growth? It is difficult for both Qoros and Bitauto to answer the question at this point. What is certain is that e-commerce will provide more convenience for test driving and car purchase to potential consumers. The premise is that potential consumers have a genuine interest in deciding to purchase a Qoros car.
(Rewritten by Kun Xu, based on author’s article on his weibo on auto.sina.com.cn)