Finding instead of searching: an individual vehicle recommendation within 90 seconds
Ø 90 sec.
Key to success for maximum conversion at the very beginning of the customer journey
“How can we best support prospective customers in selecting a model online?” Mercedes-Benz approached us with this question in 2016. Our answer: Focus on the customer's need for information and inspiration right at the start of the customer journey. In particular, new customers were often unfamiliar with model categories, technical details and illustrious equipment names, which left them feeling lost. By redesigning this pivotal episode, the Model Finder offered these customers easy entry into the product portfolio. Within just three months, we developed a product vision for the Model Finder and deployed it as a prototype. Since then, the now mature product consistently proved that our approach worked: 35% of users confirmed that the model recommendation positively influenced their purchasing decision. This is a remarkable feat, considering users received their results within about 90 seconds. That's what we mean by customer impact.
Only one question: “What are you looking for?”
100,000 stored vehicle types. But only one question counts when assessing the recommendations to make: “What are you looking for?” By selecting from twelve central characteristics—for example sportiness, off-road capability, storage space, performance, efficiency, etc.—users were able to prioritize what really matters to them in just three steps. This way, the recommendation engine found the right model from over 50,000 possible combinations. Users quickly and conveniently obtained their preferred orientation without having to “speak Mercedes” and deal with details such as MBUX, ENERGIZING or 4MATIC. As a result, the focus was fully on the customer's need of finding the right model.
With this visionary project, EO proved to us that they are true CX experts. Strategy, concept and implementation were delivered extremely adeptly, quickly and reliably. In short, a real tour de force that perfectly reflects our customers' premium demands.
Customer needs translated into product features
The recommendation engine was based on a semantic model that translated real-life customer needs into vehicle preferences. If the user wanted a sporty design, the logic would take into account various factors such as body style, equipment line and individual equipment packages—and align these preferences with other needs. Together with Daimler TSS, the backend developer, we continued iterating upon the application and its underlying model. The highlight: new vehicles were independently evaluated on the basis of product information and technical data. For several years, we offered potential customers a lightning-fast service with a high success rate.
Scalable tool with top conversion
We rolled out the Model Finder in 20 markets and seamlessly integrated it into the Mercedes-Benz digital ecosystem. In total, the tool had more than three million users. From the recommendations, prospective customers were led to relevant options with just one click: On product detail pages, they were able to find additional information on the respective models. The majority of users, however, switched directly from the best match to the configurator in order to further equip and customize the vehicle according to their own wishes. Alternatively, users were able to book a test drive for their recommended dream car directly within the Model Finder.
I developed the first version of the semantic model myself and I’m happy to say that it actually helped people to find their dream vehicle for several years. It is great feeling to bring a CX vision to life. Of course, this only works with the right team—and they were highly motivated right from the start.
Ideally, we are on board from the very beginning. Being able to accompany a project from day 1 is always a win-win-win situation: for the client, the service provider and ultimately for the users. Thanks to the fundamental work that goes into developing a concept, vision and roadmap, a team spirit is born that allows us to transform a project into a market-ready product in record time.
For multi-stakeholder projects, our approach typically involves creating agile setups where everyone can make their best contribution to a common goal. For this project, the team from Mercedes-Benz, our UX, design and frontend teams as well as the backend developers from Daimler TSS and our partners for the market platform integration, Mercedes-Benz.io, worked hand in hand.
Diverse feedback sources
Ultimately, we know that it is always the users who decide whether a product is a success. That's why we survey, test and analyse as thoroughly as possible. Whether it's qualitative and quantitative user surveys, optimization based on data analytics or testing new features in the context of sophisticated A/B tests: every bit of feedback counts.