How Adobe Experience Cloud is driving smart’s evolution.
(a wholly-owned subsidiary of smart Automobile Co., Ltd.)
Employees: ca. 100 Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany
for electric vehicles of the future
Aligning the business with customer centricity
An integrated, customer-centric system across all channels
Boundless, cross-platform system for customer-centric content
Establishment of a department consisting of various skillsets that are responsible for the integration of several customer matters in the system
Using Adobe Experience Cloud
An integrated ‘eco.platform’ with a headless system that separates the front and backends for universal content
smart Europe is responsible for all sales, marketing and aftersale activities for the next generation of smart’s vehicles, products and services in the European market.
To develop its future sales platform for electric vehicles, the company is pursuing a holistic, customer-centric approach to customer experience (CX) that connects IT, marketing, e-commerce, data science and business development while breaking down silos. By integrating the concept throughout the entire company, this allows smart Europe to consistently evaluate and optimise the customer journey across all touchpoints. smart Europe relies on Adobe Experience Cloud and other products when developing its sales platform for electric vehicles, to pursue a holistic approach and be able to align its entire business around customer centricity.
Although smart Europe GmbH was only founded in 2020, it was relatively easy for the young company to build and develop its strict customer-centric business model from the ground up, without having to worry about residual problems. However, ‘building from the ground up’ is also a preference of possibly older companies that want to steer their business model in the direction of customer centricity. “The answer to disruption is being willing to change for success,” says Björn Schick, Director Customer Experience and Executive Board Member at smart Europe GmbH. “Be brave and be disruptive!”
Director Customer Experience and Executive Board Member, smart Europe GmbH
His second and third recommendations are just as clear: “You need to personalise to meet the individual behaviour of your customers.” And “automate the CX processes as much as possible to make customer proximity efficient.”
That’s how Schick and his team at smart Europe went about it. To become customer-centric, the structure and culture of the company were aligned and bought together with a separate Customer Experience department. All teams and employees directly facing the customer are here to think - and work - in an integrated way: IT architects, business developers, data engineers, marketing specialists and e-commerce professionals. They are all on course for direct-to-consumer e-commerce (D2C).
The cultural and structural changes at smart Europe are the answer to three disruptive trends that are affecting the automotive industry:
smart Europe has found answers to these developments: the company offers its customers an attractive and innovative product portfolio that aligns with customer behaviour. The company now also sells its vehicles through direct sales - on a central e-commerce platform that offers customers an end-to-end buying experience as well as additional digital services and comprehensive vehicle networking.
What this means in practice was last seen at IAA Mobility in Munch in early September 2021. With smart’s Concept #1, the company showed a preview of its first series model that is expected for 2023: a new, fully electric generation of vehicles. smart received positive feedback on this surprising feat, confirming the company’s strategy of listening to its customers and their demands is working.
To achieve this, smart Europe has aligned its business model and corporate culture not only to its customers but also by using data along the entire value chain. “We use customer data not only to optimise internally but also - with their consent - to offer our customers real added value and personalised experiences. That makes it much easier for customers to give us permission to use their data,” says Björn Schick.
Director Customer Experience und Mitglied des Executive Boards, smart Europe GmbH
Under Schick’s direction, the company has built an ‘eco.platform’ based on Adobe Experience Cloud and other products. The platform processes all transactions and overcomes all traditional boundaries between online and off-line, as well as different device types. Additionally, it integrates local sales partners and workshops to provide a seamless and comprehensive shopping experience throughout the entire product lifecycle. To achieve this, the company uses a headless approach in which the front and backends are separated, so all processes for generating content can be maintained centrally. This way, smart Europe achieves its goal of offering its customers across Europe a personalised omnichannel experience throughout the entire lifecycle and across all devices.
As an intelligent customer experience platform, Adobe Experience Cloud plays an important role in orchestrating and automating this complex system. While Adobe Workfront is used to organise the workflows, for tasks such as content creation and approval. According to Schick, optimisation brings enormous gains in efficiency because of the numerous assets that are produced for the headless system at smart Europe.
In this respect, it is only logical that Schick does not view the eco.platform as just an IT system but as a “digital business solution” through which the entire company can increase efficiency, reduce costs and ultimately achieve better conversion rates in marketing across all touchpoints with their customers.