I know what you’re thinking. But things are changing.
Volkswagen has been studying the idea of a fun shopping experience for a while, looking not just at how people like to shop, but also, how people’s car shopping strategies have morphed during the Covid-19 crisis. They thought about how people buy a new phone or computer, how they explore the details, the lifestyle benefits and the in-store process. And how increasingly, customers are happy to place an order and wait for delivery.
When the all electric VW ID.4 SUV roll outs later this year (expect news on that shortly!) it’ll come with a fresh new website and ordering process. The ID.4 will be the first VW model to be presented to customers this way but if it’s successful, expect more models to be shopped for this way.
And, it’ll be VW’s first all electric SUV. We expect big things from this car, which is expected to carry a very approachable price tag and some really great modern features. But more on that later.
How the New Shopping Experience Will Work
Understanding that the ID.4, and electric cars in general, are a new idea to many car buyers, VW is creating a shopping experience that will take buyers through all their questions, from how to charge the car, how long it takes and where you can charge it, to how to decide which features to you want and need. You can also figure out pricing, tax incentives and other details that factor into an electric car purchase. By partnering with local dealers, buyers will be sure they are working with the right tax and other incentive information from governments, public utilities and more.
Once you decide on the car you want, $100 will reserve the car. Once the car enters the assembly process, you’ll be asked to confirm your purchase with an additional $400 deposit to lock in your price and order. And, you can complete all your paperwork on line before picking up your new car.
Best of all, you’ll be able to track your car through the assembly and delivery process. Just like you can track the delivery of your new phone, a tracker on the VW site will let you know exactly where your car is in the process.
Want to Work with Someone In Person to Make Your Choices? You Can Do That, Too
Even though you’re shopping on the VW site, you’re buying your car from a VW dealer, so you can sit with a dedicated ID.4 specialist to make all your choices. To integrate the new process seamlessly for buyers, VW’s leadership “formed an EV sub-council that we set up so every aspect” of the purchase process would be thought through,” said Duncan Movassaghi, EVP of VW sales and marketing. “To prepare for the launch we did a big presentation to [the dealers] in November and prepared a strong package of support for dealers with facilities training, digital tools and marketing,” he said. Then, working with dealers one-on-one the company is doing virtual consultations so the dealerships are ready and the sales teams are well versed on the ID.4. Each dealership will also have a dedicated ID.4 specialist to answer questions during the shopping process and at delivery to ensure that every new buyer really understands the vehicle.
The effort is “the key to our success and it will make an enormous difference in the success of this car,” Duncan said.
And for customers who have a change of heart? Their deposit refundable any time. Because that is the hallmark of a great shopping experience: being able to change your mind and still feel good about the brand, the product and your experience with it.