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Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Reimagining a customer-centric ecosystem for an elevated retail experience

The Mercedes-Benz Group AG (former Daimler AG) is one of the world's most successful automotive companies.


They partnered with Thoughtworks on an organization-wide transformation to bring twelve internal functions into digital alignment, and equip them with the tools and data needed to delight their customers on their end-to-end journey. From sales to service inspections, to repairs and maintenance, the goal was to have “one role, one system,” and the experience needed to be seamless.

The challenge


Replacing the entire legacy system and changing the current dealer sales experience was a huge undertaking. The dealers were all trained in using the current system, which was well-established, and frequently used in their day-to-day activities. Changes to the system would impact every part of the dealer business and the customer’s experience. 


We needed to identify a starting point where we could create value for dealer staff so they would proactively adopt the new system and select an area that would achieve the business goal of uplifting the retail experience for their customers. The Thoughtworks team worked to determine the right part of the ecosystem to address first by mapping out the entire dealership and car sales process. They identified challenges, opportunities and integration points with other systems and departments. 


The sales process relied heavily on manual steps and paperwork — the dealer often had to start the sale out front in the showroom before leaving the customer alone for up to thirty minutes while they re-entered details into the back-office legacy system. This method was a frustrating experience for customers who expect much more from a luxury brand and the dealer sales consultants, who could have spent more time on value-add services for their customers.


Starting with the sales dealership management system allowed the team to solve a pain point for the dealers and, at the same time, deliver immediate value to the customer. 


This multi-year engagement started with defining an experience strategy for elevating the dealer retail experience by empowering dealer employees and connecting to the broader Mercedes-Benz ecosystem of digital products and services. The team then embarked on ongoing product design and delivery to continuously evolve the solution. 


Moving from a traditional software development approach to a customer-centric way of working required a mindset shift across the organization. The team worked closely with dealers to understand the challenges they faced in their everyday activities and systems before developing a solution to address their real needs. 


The new application could be used across multiple mobile devices, in real-time, with the customer on the showroom floor. Taking an innovative approach to delivery, the team focused on building out “micro innovations” from customer research, implementing small changes to make the application more usable and getting fast feedback from the dealers. 


Integrating an e-commerce experience in parallel meant that customers could start (or continue) their car buying journey online and complete the transaction offline with dealers. In addition, it provided visibility to the dealers of online leads so they could seamlessly serve the customer when they came into the store.


Using the dealership management system as a foundation, the team shifted focus to the next key area in the dealership ecosystem: the after-sales process. They built a collaborative tool for car inspections to provide transparency to the customer about the car maintenance required, the cost of the necessary services and a breakdown of the parts covered by their warranty. 


Successfully developing a higher level of trust between the after-sales consultants and their customers resulted in more customers returning to the dealership for their aftercare services rather than taking their business elsewhere.

Integrated product, design and tech approach


Underpinning the transformation, was a strategy that integrates product, design and technology. As a result, we created design system standards, tech guidelines and product evolution standards that rolled out to the rest of the organization to maintain the high quality required to achieve the automotive giant's ambitious digital goals. 


Germany, China and the US received bespoke versions of the solution — each tailored to accommodate the various cultural differences for easier adoption and implementation.

Global recognition


The Thoughtworks team was honored to be recognized as one of the top ten suppliers for strategic partnership with Daimler to support digitalization, receiving the Supplier Award 2017 in the category of innovation — the first time the award was presented for a digital experience.

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