In early 1999, Ford announced an integrated e-commerce strategy, with the objective of creating an interface among customers, dealers, vendors and even competitors. The SWOT analysis was studied for the development the strategy, as well as the chances of success of such strategy. With Ford's desire to shift from dealer-centric' selling to consumer-centric' selling, we looked at the typical characteristics of online customers and how dealers could reinvent themselves to remain relevant in the changing automotive industry. The quest of Ford's goal to become the world's leading consumer company that provides automotive products and services has compelled Ford into integrated e-commerce strategy in connecting with …show more content…
Hence the typical characteristics of web customers are:
Yearn for convenient customer service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Seek for faster response to customers' requests/queries
Seek for depth of information on products and services to have value for money
Desire for personalised service
Both Ford and GM are rather confident that web customers will constitute 70% of car-buyers market. However, privacy concerns may affect loyalty to the manufacturer provided appropriate measures are taken to reassure customers in disclosing their personal information.
Dealers saw both hope and danger in Ford's e-Commerce Strategy. But as Brian P. Kelley, Ford's e-business vice president, predicts that e-commerce ultimately will be more about speed, convenience, and information than cost-cutting; Ford must first shift from "dealer-centric" selling, where consumers choose from the limited selection on a dealer's lot, to "consumer-centric," where the buyer gets what he or she actually wants. Such changes would force car dealers to transform themselves. Right now, dealers specialize in selling what the manufacturer ships them rather than what consumers are clamoring for. "Car dealers will reinvent themselves as a result of the Internet," as claimed by Kelley.
As part of Ford's consumer-connect strategy, DealerConnection