Cadillac, the auto brand, has been able to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to e-commerce tools that allow consumers to replicate much of the buying experience online.

In March 2020, just before most lockdowns were instituted, the automaker made its Cadillac Live service available in all 50 states across the United States.

This offering gives would-be drivers an opportunity to check out vehicles through online-video sessions with brand representatives, so they can virtually explore different cars and ask questions.

Once COVID set in, this service witnessed a five-fold increase in digital engagement “from pretty good metrics in just a matter of a couple of months,” Melissa Grady, Cadillac’s CMO, said on a webinar held by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: COVID-19’s levelling effect: Cadillac adjusts to find new sales channels online.)

Cadillac, which is owned by General Motors, could also look to a program that it first launched in 2013 in better serving consumers.

The “Shop. Click. Drive” online service facilitates not only shopping for a vehicle, but enables going through almost every stage of buying a new car (be it a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac) through digital channels.

Visitor numbers for “Shop. Click. Drive.” had grown by 50% in mid-May as a consequence of the pandemic, GM reported in a recent investors call.

And the concept is relatively simple: Cadillac shoppers go online to select their model, customize it, fill out the paperwork, and do all but sign on the dotted line to complete the transaction.

“The dealer shows up at your house with the car. Or you can go to the dealership and you sign for it. But you've really done most of the work online,” explained Grady.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the move towards e-commerce had been gaining steady momentum among consumers and automakers, as a “lot more test drives happened on YouTube than at car dealerships,” Grady said.

Cadillac, she revealed, already had a two-year roadmap for “Shop. Click. Drive.” before COVID-19 began to spread. With the pandemic, that planning cycle collapsed into “a matter of months.”

And the rise of digital within the mix will require that dealers are equipped with the necessary tools to succeed. “As a luxury brand,” Grady said, “we want to make sure that experience is more on the ‘delightful’ side.”

Sourced from WARC