ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS, KARMA AUTOMOTIVE REVS ITS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Earlier this week, Karma Automotive showcased three new cars at the Shanghai Auto Show. The Southern California-based maker of luxury, electric vehicles sees this as coming-out party of sorts.
Billed as the “New Dawn,” Karma Automotive believes this launch will put it on the road to success with new markets around the world – and signals the future for cars that are both sustainable and luxurious
Karma Automotive calls these new products the “Shanghai Big Three,” which include a redesigned version of its Karma Revero, scheduled to be in dealer showrooms during the third quarter, and two concept vehicles. The first is called the Karma Pininfarina GT coupe and was co-created in partnership with high-end Italian design and engineering firm Pininfarina. Second, the Karma SC1 Vision Concept car is a fully-electrified, two-seat sportscar otherwise known as a roadster.
The Wanxiang Group, a global automotive parts manufacturer headquartered in Hangzhou, China, founded Karma Automotive in 2014. Since then, Karma Automotive has been focused on providing customers with excellent service. So far the strategy appears to be working. The company has 19 dealers in North America, Chile, Egypt, and Canada, and dealerships continue to grow globally.
“A key element of Karma’s luxury brand is our commitment to owner experiences that are personal and special,” says Ketan Gohil, director of Enterprise Systems at Karma Automotive. “All of our Reveros are hand built at our customization center.”
Bespoke electric cars are not the only way Karma Automotive has wooed customers. The company also provides customers with great design and craftsmanship, intuitive technology, personalized customization, and a VIP experience.
High Tech for High-Touch Sales
To give its clientele the best experience, Karma Automotive turned to SAP. The company first installed SAP S/4HANA as its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to help simplify operations and provide insight across various functions including design, manufacturing, and delivery. Then Karma Automotive implemented customer relationship management (CRM) applications from the SAP C/4HANA suite, including SAP Commerce Cloud, to support its highly personalized approach to car sales.
Using SAP Commerce Cloud, Karma Automotive built a sales website that lets customers easily order cars. When a customer starts to configure that car, SAP software alerts the company’s sales team and retailers about who the customer is and the car they’re interested in buying.
Gohil explains: “We’ve developed a portal with SAP where the retailer and sales staff can all see what the customer is seeing and experiencing. This omnichannel insight lets us better support the sale. Most importantly, it gives customers a seamless experience buying our cars both on and offline.”
Karma Automotive has also built a B2B portal where retailers can order the car, look at warranty claims, or receive training on how to replace batteries or make minor repairs.
Guided Configuration for Easier Customization
With the launch of Karma’s new cars this month, SAP C/4HANA, and specifically SAP Sales Cloud, will help customers navigate through the multiple configuration options.
“One of our key pillars is customization,” says Gohil. “Our next step with SAP is to offer guided customization, where choices will be winnowed down based on customers’ profile, what they’ve been interested in before, and their preferences.”
The system will guide customers through various customization options and help them configure and personalize their Reveros. The guided configuration process will include providing customers with pricing options as they select various features.
Back-Office and Front-Office Integration for Customer Success
The real value, however, lies in the front-end and back-end integration between operational and customer-facing systems.
Gohil says, “We are using SAP C/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA together so when retailers put in an order for a car, it goes right from the commerce system to the back end. An order is created with all the specifications and Karma Automotive can start engineering and fulfillment immediately.”
This also means that at any time, a retailer can see the status of an order, whether the car is on the shop floor, being painted, or has shipped. “They can trace in real time exactly where the car is,” Gohil says.
The combined systems also allow retailers to easily order parts for car maintenance or repair. “They can use SAP Commerce Cloud to browse the catalogue, find what they want, and order it,” says Gohil. “The order goes straight into SAP S/4HANA and the system figures out where the part is, when it will be shipped, and the shipping number for tracking.”
But as Karma Automotive seeks to grow its business, the customer experience matters most. “Now we can truly do made-to-order, engineer-to-order cars so every car is special and unique,” says Gohil.