MINI USA is introducing an entirely new and digital way to buy MINIs called MINI Anywhere. As a response to COVID and the general buying patterns of customers, MINI Anywhere aims to turn the laborious process of buying a car into something that you can do from anywhere and anytime. In short it brings the simplicity of e-commerce to the process of buying a MINI.
The journey of MINI Anywhere started the day that MINI USA walked out of their corporate offices and went into lockdown last March. There was already a need for the digital equivalent of buying a car through a dealer but COVID dramatically increased that pressure. Looking at research one stat more than any stood out; 60% of consumers are willing to go through the entire car buying journey online (a data point that’s certainly grown over the last year). After months of further research and planning, MINI USA begin building a solution last July. Now just 11 months later MINI Anywhere is set to rollout this month at specific dealerships in California with a staggered launch in Florida, Texas and that the rest of the nation by December.
How does it work?
From the consumer’s point of view it’s integrated into MINI USA’s “Dealers & Inventory” section. Once you’ve selected a dealer you simply browse the inventory, find a MINI and click the buy now button. That triggers a process that ends with the dealer getting a notification about interest in buy one of their cars. Once the dealer has verified the car is available (and hasn’t just been bought by a walk-in) the customer gets verification and can immediately commit to purchase. According to MINI the full transaction should take under 30 minutes.
MotoringFile had a chance to preview the process in beta form recently and found it to be simple to use and all quite intuitive. However it is currently not possible to view all of the inventory of a particular model within a region (let alone nationally). The process funnels you through your choice of dealer as a starting point. So if you’re in LA and looking for a specific manual transmission Cooper S, you’ll have to look dealer by dealer rather than just viewing all and filtering to the options you want. However MINI stressed that this is just the first launch and to expect upgrades and improvements in the months ahead. Case in point MINI is intending to launch a future update to the system that will match a car that you’ve configured with something similar local.
Price and No Haggle
MINI Anywhere takes the no haggle approach to car buying. That means the price you see is the price you get there’s no way to offer less. That said the dealer does have the ability to drop prices on its side based on any side conversations that might be had on a test drive or simply over the phone. Given how most other online car buying tools work, this feels rather normal and likely a bit of relief for most car buyers.
Upsells and Buying Used
One of then more interesting aspects of the process is that it puts the power in the customers hands. You know those high pressure moments when you’re asked about tire and wheel insurance or an extended warranty? The customer now has time to think and consider at home before checking that box and moving forward with a purchase. This particularly helps when buying used or certified pre-owned MINIs which will be part of the system likely by August.
Where this Leads
Dealers aren’t going away. The franchise model is locked in place and is part of the support system that MINI USA strongly believes in. So MINI aims to digitally enable dealers in a consistent way to serve the brand and customers. That means what we see here is likely just the beginning. Not only is MINI USA already planning updates to MINI Anywhere but there are surely other ambitious plans on the drawing boards. Which of course begs the question – would you buy your next MINI remotely?
MINI USA announced today the launch of MINI Anywhere, a custom online retail platform that will provide dealers with the opportunity to offer MINI customers a fully digital end-to-end online shopping experience. The unique, custom solution covers all facets of the purchase process, from vehicle selection, trade-in, and monthly payment calculations, through to financing, approval, contracting and e-signatures – all done on-line in as little as 30 minutes.
The announcement of MINI Anywhere comes as online shopping has increased across several industries following the COVID19 pandemic. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by MINI USA through Engine’s CARAVAN® found that 60% of consumers surveyed were willing or very willing to go through the entire car buying journey via a digital platform. It also showed that 59% of consumers surveyed were more comfortable making big purchases online than they were two years ago.
MINI Anywhere will not only give consumers the option to purchase and finance their MINI online but will also benefit both dealers and customers by expanding the reach of the dealership over a broader geography. Now customers who live geographically further from a MINI dealership will be able to purchase a MINI from their home, with the option for the dealer to offer the customer the option to pick up or have their new MINI delivered.
“We wanted to come up with a simple, frictionless process for our dealers to facilitate a sale completely online because we know that is increasingly what consumers expect,” said Patrick McKenna, Department Head of Marketing, Product and Strategy, MINIUSA. “With MINI Anywhere we’ve built an e-commerce solution that offers customers the ability to buy a MINI online in as little as 30 minutes from anywhere in the country.”
The development of MINI Anywhere started when both MINI USA and MINI Financial Services came together during the pandemic looking for an end-to-end digital contracting solution for MINI’s 115 dealers in the U.S. After a search for an off-the- shelf solution came up empty, the two entities decided a custom platform was needed to bridge several complicated gaps in the automotive retail process. MINI USA and MINI Financial Services teamed up with Otoz, a division of NETSOL Technologies, which has helped develop the platform as MINI Anywhere is also unique in that it represents a true one-stop solution from the OEM and captive finance company to seamlessly and transparently bring more purchase options to our MINI customers and fans.
“Partnering with MINI USA and Otoz to bring customer-centric solutions and ease of doing business with us is paramount,” said Stefan Christman, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, MINI Financial Services. “MINI Anywhere gives us the validation we need to sell cars online while also maintaining strong credit and access to the most attractive interest rates for our customers and prospects.”
The launch of MINI Anywhere comes less than 2 years after MINI USA and MINI Financial Services teamed up to create MINI Anywhere is the perfect complement to Flipped Financing, bringing the MINI consumer purchase options and flexibility through digital tools that are secure, transparent, and simple.
The MINI Anywhere e-commerce program is currently in its pilot phase and is now being rolled out to select dealers in California. A further expanded rollout to dealers in other markets will continue over the next few months.
a true end-to-end e-commerce experience. the mobility space for several years, Otoz develops digital-first automotive retail and Active in mobility solutions for OEMs, dealerships, and start-ups to further facilitate seamless customer and dealer engagement.
Flipped Financing, an innovative vehicle
financing program that helps MINI dealers put consumers at the heart of an easier and simplified purchase experience. With Flipped Financing, all approved credit applicants receive one fully transparent interest rate – as advertised, up-font and without any surprises. At the same time the program creates a straightforward and clear-cut purchase process that eliminates the need for potentially lengthy negotiations or hassle for both the customer and the dealer.
The consumer survey commissioned by MINI USA additionally found that 74% of consumers surveyed plan to continue current online shopping habits/preferences post pandemic. 42% of consumers surveyed also said pricing/finance ranked most important when deciding on a vehicle purchase.
The General Population survey was conducted by Engine’s CARAVAN® among a sample of 1,005 adults comprising 503 men and 502 women 18 years of age and older on behalf of MINI USA. This survey was live from June 4-6, 2021.