Blog Post
Winning in China's aftermarket with digital solutions.
By Damian Ye Vice President, Aftermarket, China

When a failed car battery left Chen Weijia stranded at home in a Shanghai suburb, he logically looked for a solution online. The 35-year-old architect needed to get his children to school, which meant he needed a fast response. And that’s what he got: He ordered a new battery for immediate delivery. Within the promised time, a technician arrived by scooter with the battery. Installation was quick, and Chen was on his way.

Chinese consumers expect such ecommerce solutions. Yet there is a gap between these digital-savvy car owners, who value high quality products and services, and the rapidly growing yet fragmented aftermarket in China, where its $1.94 trillion ecommerce sales in 2019 is expected to contribute more than half of the global sales.

Over the past two years, Clarios has rolled out a digital business model to offer automotive batteries with added value to both consumers and automotive retailers throughout China, and a vision to create long-term benefits for the industry value chain.

Standardizing market channels through formal supplier partnerships
Early on, Clarios integrated its VARTA Power Express (VPE) mobile application and a third-party online-to-offline back office program. This empowered selected distributors in key cities to act as VARTA authorized suppliers, efficiently receiving and dispatching orders to a network within a 7-km-radius service area of their workshop.

The system enabled distributors and technicians to guarantee product authenticity, increase preferential orders and take advantage of training. They were also able to track and analyze data for dispatch and rejected orders, gaining valuable business insight.

Enhancing service and efficiency by empowering more capable service providers
Now Clarios is launching the 2.0 VPE model, to increase long-term value for our partners as well as consumers. We’re taking steps to help distributors and technicians further standardize service and the customer experience, and improve program management and efficiency. In the search for capable service providers, Clarios refined the service network grid and moved our mobile digital platform toward meeting VPE distributor needs as well as managing technician performance.

This digital product-to-service transformation strengthens valuable brand authority shared with our partners. We’ve also witnessed a more consolidated marketplace, streamlined channels and improved service, benefiting consumers and the industry as a whole.

Continuing to expand digital service and product capabilities
As Clarios continues evolving the business model and building on our digital business insights, we aspire to take the transformation further by partnering with other players to develop more battery-related peripheral services, such as emergency rescue.

Connectivity is moving the automotive aftermarket ever closer to consumers. Clarios believes suppliers and distributors working together will capture the greatest benefits.

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We are here to power progress. From pioneering the most efficient circular economy in the world, to our expertise in battery applications and the systems that rely on them, we are constantly evolving along with our customers and partners.

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