ARMONK, N.Y. and LONDON -- IBM and Audi UK, one of the world's leading premium automotive manufacturers, collaborated to redesign Audi's website to deliver a far more engaging digital customer experience. During the course of 2020, Audi has seen a 59% increase in UK online sales inquiries despite an almost 30% industry decline in new UK car sales during the pandemic.

With 90% of its car purchases starting online, Audi UK turned to IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Global Business Services, to help it reimagine its customers' digital journey from initial inquiry to ownership. COVID-19 has made "contact-less" online experience paramount as car dealerships had to close or limit in-person operations.

Audi UK's digital transformation unified its mobile and desktop shopping experiences, enabled by a cloud platform and supported by the latest marketing insights data from Adobe Analytics and agile software development practices.

Audi UK tailors the customers' online experience to their prime motivations for car-buying – be it price, driving experience, technology or safety. Visitors are now asked fewer questions, can reach relevant information more quickly and are offered more contact options to take their inquiry further than they could before. Audi UK broke its own online sales inquiries record three times in June 2020 alone.

Antony Roberts, Head of Digital at Audi UK, says: "In a matter of 12 months, our leads have grown exponentially and our sales conversions have improved. We have gone from being poor in terms of the data analytics to being incredibly rich. Through our collaboration with IBM, Audi UK now has the most effective cloud-based online platform across the entire VW Group, building a smarter experience for customers interacting with our brand."

Like most organizations, Audi's IT architecture was built over many years and had become challenging to maintain. Applying the agile, user-focused IBM Garage Methodology, the Audi and IBM iX team co-created a strategic roadmap for their digital transformation, resulting in new customer-centric tools designed to enhance the user experience. IBM implemented Adobe Experience Manager along with Adobe Analytics to facilitate faster content-led experiences on their website that helped enable Audi to make business and customer-experience decisions based on data rather than assumptions, with a full view into how consumers interact with the new site:

> IBM built the Audi analytics platform using Adobe Analytics which has helped provide actionable marketing insights, and pinpoints site performance improvement opportunities, resulting in Audi reducing customer submission errors by 90%.

> Audi content editors are now able to complete everyday changes themselves, freeing developers to focus on more complex tasks. Audi has created libraries of reusable components that has reduced initial setup time of new features from weeks to minutes.

> Adopting more agile practices, developers are now able to deliver functionality up to 75% faster than before; new solutions built this year include a test-drive booking application, a vehicle maintenance scheduler and a part-exchange calculator.

Debbie Vavangas, IBM Global Garage lead, IBM iX, said: "Audi has prided itself on its commitment to apply smart design across its business. With the COVID-19 pandemic up-ending the way consumers make large purchases, there was a critical need to apply its design principles to its customers' digital experiences. By embracing cloud technologies and data analytics, Audi UK helped accelerate its digital transformation with an online platform that delivers a smarter, more engaging experience that puts customers in the driver's seat."

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