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The digital workshop



When we get home in the evening, one of the first things we often do is ask Alexa to play our favourite playlist on Spotify. After dinner, we turn to Netflix and resume watching the most recent TV series. If we have a doubt or question, we often turn to Google for the answer. 

Nicoletta Ferrini

When we get home in the evening, one of the first things we often do is ask Alexa to play our favourite playlist on Spotify. After dinner, we turn to Netflix and resume watching the most recent TV series. If we have a doubt or question, we often turn to Google for the answer. When we want to buy something - anything nowadays! - one of the first sites we turn to is Amazon. It's the digital age. An age in which consumers, if they so desire, can satisfy most of their needs online. But apparently nothing that concerns periodic and extraordinary car maintenance services.

The automotive aftermarket sector in Italy (but not only) is, in fact, everything but "digitized": about 30% of domestic after-sales services do not even have a website and a surprising 10% think that it would not be so useful for their business anyway. This technological backwardness was further confirmed by a recent research performed by MotorK, digital service specialists for the automotive business. The survey shows that among those who have a website, 55% still lack an online booking service and only 29% admit to having established a digital upgrading budget.

On the other hand, since 2015, online requests for car services have increased by as much as 300% (data: 2017 Google/Critical Mix FixedOpsStudy, U.S.). About 66% of motorists, before taking their car to the workshop, search online – more often than not through a smartphone or tablet -, compare and then choose the best centre and, at times, book an appointment with the workshop (data: ICDP, Consumer Survey 2016). "The fact is that we have, on the one hand, a fully connected consumer, who turns to the net for many of his needs; on the other hand, the after-sales sector, appears to be lagging behind from a digital point of view or, as I often repeat, seems to be on the web without knowing it, with disconnected, outdated and badly synchronized tools", explains Marco Marlia, CEO and co-founder of MotorK. Hence, unable to meet the needs of the motorist the aftermarket operator misses a valuable business opportunity. "If until two years ago, garages and service centres lost about 3% of their annual turnover due to poor website presence, the same percentage has now risen to at least 10%. And in a couple of years we could expect it to rise even further to 30%, which, when translated into figures, means being cut off from the market.


GarageK: tailor-made digitization strategy

To help garages fit into the rather complex digital customer journey of the modern motorist, MotorK has developed GarageK. After DriveK, a marketplace for new cars, the SaaS (Software-As-A-Service) platform for digital management of dealerships and Internet Motors, a division that deals with events and training in the field of digital marketing, launched GarageK addressing the last link in the automotive chain, car repair and service centres. "A universe made up of at least 50,000 companies in Italy alone, many of which offline," says Marlia.

GarageK is a SaaS platform that provides operators with all the necessary tools to be on the web: a personalized responsive website (i.e. accessible and usable by mobile devices) with specific features for requesting quotes, booking car services, not to mention the possibility to arrange promotions and marketing campaigns, manage CRM and Seo positioning on major search engines. "Being an in-cloud platform, customers can rely on several new features added on a monthly basis  and included in the monthly subscription price - says the CEO of MotorK -. In addition, during the start-up phase, one of our advisors follows the customer step by step. Thanks to Artificial intelligence, GarageK can do many things, but the human touch is still essential. MotorK makes available a team of marketing, web editing, web development, graphics and Seo experts to create "turnkey" product perfectly suited to the needs, as well as the identity of the company. "We decided to implement this vertical integration strategy to our business to provide even the smallest workshop with a simple and complete digital tool - says Marlia -. All ‘packed’ at a very reasonable price: starting from 99 euro per month”.


“Little ones” first

Launched in Italy at the beginning of October, GarageK has already been chosen by about one hundred garages and service centres to support their digitization process: "We sign 6 or 7 contracts per day, so we expect to reach 200 customers in Italy by the end of this year, and we aim for 1,000 customers by the end of 2019," says Marco Marlia. And after Italy, Europe: GarageK is currently in its start-up phase in other countries too, namely France, Spain, Germany and Great Britain.

"In Italy we deliberately started by offering GarageK to smaller and independent workshops. We set our sights on these companies, because we are convinced that reaching this type of target customer means that we have a truly balanced product - says MotorK’s CEO -. However, we are also enjoying talks with several aftermarket networks. The latter are showing themselves surprisingly interested, which is one of the things that amazes me the most.  Large number of operators from the automotive service universe approached us spontaneously, and agree that  GarageK offers at least a couple of key opportunities: a digital transformation process and higher turnover thanks to more business opportunities and streamlined workshop operations”.

The prevalent feeling is that, although the sector is poorly digitized, it is quite aware of its shortcomings and the need to upgrade. "They don't have the tools, but fully understand how important these are, because, as users, they are totally immersed in this reality - confirms Marlia -. We found a niche at the crossroads between awareness and frustration". Here is a case study to confirm it: "one of our customers used the platform to send all his clients a text message reminded them it was time for the winter tire change. He received hundreds of answers in just one day. The digital-automotive industry has made great strides in recent years. From online configuration to dealerships, digitization has changed the work of car sellers. What was missing, however, was a customized tool for the aftermarket, so as to offer a range of digital products that enhances the purchasing experience and radically change the user’s experience as well. For car services it is crucial to be able to increase the customer flow in the workshop - concludes Marlia - and this goal can only be achieved if they are present right where the users can be found, online".




MotorK is a European digital company that helps the automotive industry strengthen its business through the combination of digital skills, online marketing and technological expertise. Established in Italy in 2010, MotorK quickly grew to became an important company in the digital-automotive scenario, as well as a trusted partner for more than 90% of the car manufacturers active on the European market. With a three digit year on year growth, the company has expanded its business from Italy to Spain, France, Germany and the UK. The company now has a team of 380 people, of 20 different nationalities and 7 offices in 5 countries.

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