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Autocar’s Drivers of Change: The Retail winners’ circle

At Allianz Assistance, we’re a very proud sponsor of Autocar’s Drivers of Change. This is a competition that encourages and creates a platform for people looking to make real change and innovation in different areas of the automotive industry: technology, digital and retail. This year the winners will receive £5,000 and the opportunity to attend the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which is one of the biggest annual events in the automotive industry.

As sponsors, we got a ring-side seat to learn more about the submissions, innovators and who caught the judges’ eyes the most. We’ve pulled the highlights from the virtual Retail event for you to read through, as well as a round-up of the finalists and their ideas that earnt them a top spot in this year’s Autocar’s Drivers of Change.

Retail award:

Jacob Sotiris:

“As the industry changes more than we can imagine, I wanted individuals to feel comfortable and confident using video in digital skills so as to give customers an incredible virtual experience like they were with them in the showroom. Already having the technology in place, it was about empowering these individuals to create amazing stand-out videos to help them enhance the customer journey. When I applied to the Autocar Drivers of Change, the digital masterclass looked very different and it was just an idea. Today, it’s an engaging, interactive e-learning experience to help dealerships upskill their staff and future-proof them, and it’s now ready.”

Jacob spoke candidly about the challenges that people within the retail sector of the automotive industry face in terms of transferring their skills when communicating with customers face-to-face. He highlighted the importance of future-proofing staff within this sector as videos are used more and more to connect with people in all fields.

Jacob’s idea involved using videos to connect with customers and enhance the customer journey and connect with potential customers right at the beginning of the sales journey, meaning the human element would be there much sooner than it has been historically.

WINNER: Marvin Samuels:

“CARBUSI is an app that would help buyers who are not necessarily up to speed on cars, brands or models but will help them identify a car that they have seen on the street and they like the look of it and would like to know more about it. It will use image recognition, so it would either use the app or their camera on their phone to capture an image of the car that they’ve seen. […] The image recognition software would identify that car, that information is then fed back to the user so they can identify the car they’ve spotted and start doing more investigating into what the car offers.”

Marvin specified that it is important for the app to offer information that is pertinent to the modern car buyer, avoiding over complicated automotive jargon and information about the vehicle that may be redundant to those looking for a car, but more relevant information around insurance, new and used pricing, road tax costs, tyre replacement costs and measurements around boot space and headroom, all displayed in easy to understand, plain English.

Another innovative element was using augmented reality to show the user whether or not the car would fit on their drive or in their garage. This would help give the customer the confirmation they need to ensure this type of car fits their lifestyle and needs. Lastly, they can then contact the dealer through the app to arrange a viewing or a test drive, which aims to take away the sometimes daunting element of entering a dealership and browsing cars in there.

Lilly-Ann Hulse:

“Currently there is no platform for customers in which they can browse for different automotive retail services. My concept is called AutoSwitch, and is a platform where retail services can be found in one marketplace. The app will offer car renting, trading, buying and insurance from both individuals and businesses. The effect of technology and digital solutions have not only drastically changed ideologies but also emotions of customers. People don’t want to browse over different websites and through different applications to meet their needs.”

Lilly-Ann presented to the panel her plans for the app, which involves each customer or business having their own profile to log into to browse automotive services for their vehicles. The app embodies the cross-over between customer to customer and business to customer communication, with customers able to connect with each other through the app to rent, trade and purchase cars and businesses connecting with customers to offer sales, test drives and insurance to people looking for it on the app. 

If you want to learn more about the Drivers of Change Awards and want to enter in the future, visit the Autocar Drivers of Change website today to get all the information you need. If you are interested in browsing more of our advice and interview content at Allianz Assistance, please visit our Automotive news and advice hub today.