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09/01/2017
DRIVER ITALIA: THE DIGITAL ROAD TO CUSTOMER CARE

Pirelli’s specialized network

 

The network’s digital approach to the business will continue throughout 2017. This development, though, has the goal of enhancing the motorist’s purchasing experience in any of the network’s centers in order to take the fullest possible advantage of the dealer’s expertise

Nicoletta Ferrini

Approaching the last corner before 2016’s final straight, Driver Italia is already looking at the next race. Following last year’s positive results – the growth of the network to the current 400 dealer partners distributed throughout the country and an overall performance that outgrew the current market trends – there can be no doubts: Driver Italia will consolidate its digital approach also in 2017. "Our strategy stems from the ever increasing need for the end user to start their purchasing experience through a digital path, as long as this is always backed by professional advice", says the CEO of Driver Italia Claudio Zanardo. The Driver network wants to be a benchmark in terms of professionalism, specialization and quality, offering a wide range of professional services, competitive and easily accessible thanks to a series of digital tools and a growing social media presence.

This type of approach effectively supports the entrepreneurs affiliated to the network. The ultimate goal is, in fact, to bring both the motorist and the specialist to meet through the web, with tailored-made solutions enhanced by the expertise of the network. The "vision" is to promote a virtual experience that will find its conclusion in one of the dealer’s premises: "The digital path can start from different points - explains Claudio Zanardo. A customer can log on to the Internet to search for information and maybe compare features and opinions about products and services. Another one will simply purchase something directly online. We are carefully observing the e-Commerce phenomenon - he adds - but our approach remains the same, with the Driver store at the center of the picture, where the motorist can find that level of expertise and professionalism that are synonymous with quality".

                                                                                                        

Increasingly “digital” to be closer to customers

In order to spread the concept that, besides choosing quality products, also receiving a professional and specialized service is important, Driver’s digital strategy penetrates deep into the affiliated specialized center. "What we are doing here (with appreciable results so far) is to communicate to the final customer that purchasing the right tire is certainly important, but all the related services are just as important for him and his vehicle, and therefore, should not be overlooked, like the professionalism of the network’s specialists which can indeed make a huge difference". Moreover, 2017 will see the debut, throughout the network’s facilities, of a dedicated TV channel, Driver TV, a dedicated television platform that will offer unique contents related to the automotive world, with a special focus on tires and of course, Pirelli. "The concept is to provide customers with timely information and entertainment, creating greater awareness", says Claudio Zanardo.

This opportunity follows in the wake of other activities developed by the network last year providing greater opportunities for a direct contact between motorists and retailers. This is the context in which Driver Connect was created. Launched a few months ago, this App is already a digital success with many connected users. Driver Connect is available through PC, tablet and smartphone and puts the end user in direct contact with the closest Driver Center, allowing him to book and manage his visits to the store, request quotes, receive dedicated promotions, handle his vehicle’s maintenance deadlines and look for the nearest parking lot or check the weather forecast. Driver, through all its digital touch-points, has over 500 thousand monthly contacts.
2017 will be the year of Driver On The Go, a service that allows customers to buy their tires online and have them installed directly at home or even take advantage of the seasonal tire change without having to leave the comfort of their house. Launched at the end of 2015, only in the area of Milan, Driver On The Go is part of a test that the network is performing at European level and that, in 2017, will touch at least 20 Italian cities.

 

Initiatives for the client and the network

Of course, Driver Italia hasn’t forgotten more traditional forms of communication and promotion. In addition to the more traditional forms of advertising (both at local and national level), the Driver brand is also associated with sponsorships. In fact, for the 2016/2017 Italian Football championship, the brand Driver will appear on the shirts of Internazionale Football Club Milano.

In addition, the network’s marketing agenda will also focus on participating at international events: Driver Italia will, for example, be also present at Autopromotec, the most specialized international biennial exhibition dedicated to the automotive aftermarket, to be held in Bologna from the 24th  to the 28th of May 2017.

"Our program for the year is to continue offering contests and promotions to encourage our customers to visit our stores and take care of their tires and vehicles even when seasonal tire changes are not required”, explains the CEO of Driver Italia. Furthermore, in recent months, Driver Easy Care, a financial product that facilitates consumer credit not only for purchasing tires, but also to take advantage of the network’s entire program of services, has been developed, together with Deutsche Bank.

                                                                                        

More “coaching”                                                  

Behind an attractive and competitive offer there is always a network’s professional approach, and Driver wants to keep growing in this sense too. "We are not seeking to grow in numbers only, we are also striving towards a qualitative evolution of the network - explains Claudio Zanardo . The level and complexity of the technology applied to tires and automobiles is constantly increasing. We need to keep up and hone our skills".

A new, rich training program for all partners has been planned for the coming year, courses to be held directly at the partner’s premises, in some of the network’s main facilities or in dedicated locations. "Our ‘coaching’ program does not provide only technical training, but enhances management skills as well: we are trying to offer our retailers the skills and instruments needed to best manage the changes taking place in the whole sector and assist them in the growth of their business” says Zanardo.

                                                                                                     

Multiservice network with a focus on tires                   

The affiliates are encouraged to continue to innovate their standard activities and perhaps introduce new services, in order to meet the different needs of the customers and their vehicles in a single solution. "Some of our members are already investing on additional activities such as light engineering - says Zanardo. Driver was created as a tire specialists’ network, but we need to have a 360-degree view of the automotive industry, maintaining a strong focus on rubber and consistently putting the retail store at the center of all our development strategies” .

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