Mercedes-Benz rolled out a number of initiatives in the digital space for a more efficient car buying and ownership experience for its customers in India today. These include digitisation of its dealerships and a new smartphone app for connected services on the go. The Mercedes Me smartphone app will be compatible with Mercedes cars sold in November 2019 and after. For those sold in 2007 and after, customers can purchase an OBD based adapter to plug in their cars in order to use the app at Rs 5,000 from authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships.
Mercedes say that the Mercedes Me app will offer over 30 features including 24/7 emergency services along with providing remote access to its cars. We explain the features below:
Mercedes Me app can be downloaded via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The app offers Accident Recovery, which relays the car's data and location to Mercedes customer assistance center on request after which a voice connection is established for further assistance. It also features Parked Vehicle Locator - users can locate their vehicle at a range of up to 1.5 km and get directions to it.
Customers will remote access to their cars through Mercedes me app and will be able to lock/unlock doors using their smartphones from any distance. A user can search their destination on their phone and relay the information to their car before entering it. Besides these, there is also remote retrieval of vehicle status, Valet Protect, Speed Alert, Tele-diagnostics among others.
Mercedes-Benz India will be offering connected features to Mercedes-Benz customers in three phases:
Phase 1 – Mercedes Me Adapter will be launched on 15th November 2019. Phase 1 consists of the OBD based ‘Mercedes me Adapter’ at an introductory price of Rs. 5,000. All Mercedes-Benz cars in India from 2007 onwards can be connected with the ‘Mercedes me Adapter’ app. All customers who have bought or will buy a Mercedes-Benz in 2019, will get the Mercedes Me Adapter free of cost.
Phase 2: ‘Mercedes me connect’ (to be launched for select models) Phase 2 will see the roll-out of ‘Mercedes me connect’ services via the ‘Mercedes me’ app which is an ex-factory e-sim based cloud connectivity solution available across select models.
The service will be coming soon with new Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Overall the Mercedes me app will offer over 25+ features. Some key features are Remote lock-unlock, Parked Vehicle Locator, Send destination 2 car, Remote retrieval of vehicle status, Valet Protect, Speed Alert, Tele-diagnostics, etc.
Phase 3: Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) or Hey Mercedes. Phase 3, which is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) will include the launch of smart virtual assistant Hey Mercedes. This feature will be soon available with new vehicles sold in India with 30+ features
Mercedes-Benz India digital buying initiatives:
Online purchase portal
Mercedes-Benz also launched its new e-commerce portal shop.mercedes-benz.co.in, which will have new cars as well as certified pre-owned cars, and collection items for online booking. Mercedes-Benz India has signed an agreement with Roadster Inc., a US-based e-commerce platform, for bringing in online sales solutions in India.
While the Mercedes-Benz India certified cars and collections items are available starting 1st October, the dealership certified cars and dealership new cars will be available starting December 2019 and January 2020, respectively. Mercedes-Benz India aims for 25% of its sales to come from the online portal by 2025.
Car configurator and augmented reality
Mercedes-Benz Online Car Configurator allows customers to experience the entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio digitally and personalise according to their preferences. Customers can also share their configurations with any dealership in the country using a system-generated QR code.
Moreover, Mercedes dealerships will also have the cAR app that uses Augmented Reality technology, allowing customers to explore and virtually test-drive a 3D Mercedes-Benz model. The cAR app will be launched in India soon.
“We applaud the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy and have decided to roll out our e-commerce initiative, which will cover new cars, pre-owned cars and also a wide range of accessories. We are confident this initiative will add convenience to our customers and will be an additional revenue source for our dealers. It will lead to higher synergies and drive efficiency along the supply chain,” Martin Schwenk, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz India.
“While rolling-out the different customer experience initiatives in India, we as a customer-centric organization have taken utmost care of protecting and storing confidential customer data and privacy requirements. We place great importance on the responsible and transparent use of customer data. The customer determines which services he wants to use and which data he wants to pass on.”