In the automotive industry alone, the aftersales market is expected to reach $589.01 billion by 2030. The opportunities available to businesses in the aftersales space are undeniable; what used to be seen as reactive servicing and spare part planning has become a key driver for sustainably retaining and growing business for all Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
Whether your business operates in the machinery production space, automotive industry, medical equipment development, agriculture, or anything in between, OEM leaders need to assess untapped aftersales opportunities. According to McKinsey research, aftersales margins are almost always at least double the margins on the sale of new products, creating fresh opportunities for businesses all over the world.
Today, when making purchasing decisions, customers have more choice – and more access to information — than ever before. B2B and B2C businesses alike are navigating increasingly complex sales landscapes and expanding customer needs. It’s gotten to the point that a reshuffling of strategic priorities, especially in the OEM space, was inevitable. This fight for new customer attention has left businesses focusing their efforts on existing customers, prioritizing customer retention more than new customer acquisition.
For a multitude of reasons, the aftersales market should be a top strategic priority for all OEM experts around the world. In today’s world, there is no maintaining of the status quo or stagnation allowed anymore. Either you adjust your way of doing business or you loose market share. Staying competitive in this space, regardless of industry, requires a deep understanding of aftersales trends in 2024. By examining the top aftersales trends for OEMs in 2024, leaders will be poised to expand market share, cushion revenue numbers, and develop long-lasting customer relationships.
As we step into a new year, aftersales trends are making their mark. Centered around concepts like tailored customer experiences and proactive servicing models, aftersales trends for OEMs in 2024 are providing a launchpad for this year’s business success. If you want to reenergize your business model and connect with customers in a new way, aftersales is the key. Here are the top aftersales trends in 2024:
As OEMs struggle to meet customer needs, business leaders must look at their firm’s ability to create digital customer profiles that can then be used to track, predict, and fulfill customer needs proactively. Whenever a customer touches your organization or anyone else within your customer-facing channels they are giving you an opportunity to learn more about them. A supply chain starts and ends with the end-customer, therefore the end-customer must be understood in detail to realize operational supply chain efficiency and winning business.
What did they click on before putting an item in their cart online? How old is the equipment they have? Can you flag potential equipment servicing needs before they ask for replacement parts? Using data analytics and every customer touchpoint to add more detail to your “digital customer” enables a personalized customer experience.
Customized buying and servicing experiences are major contributors to customer retention; if a customer feels like a top priority, they aren’t going to risk losing that feeling by switching to a different supplier. Quite contrary, they will most probably even buy much more than initially intended growing your business unexpectedly.
Going hand-in-hand with tailored customer experiences, proactive servicing capabilities aren’t a standout amongst OEMs today; they’re an industry requirement. You’ve probably heard of large machinery that comes with sensors and tracking devices to anticipate necessary repairs to automate maintenance alerts. With proactive servicing embedded into the OEM foundation today, manufacturers should have a strong understanding of what that should look like in practice.
“Predictive maintenance” is easy to write off as a buzzword, but staying ahead of customer needs has always been one of the primary ways to boost retention numbers, without the need for fancy sensors and artificial intelligence. By tracking new sales, applying certain service rules or repair notes in your system, and following up when it’s almost time for a customer’s machine to be serviced, you’re taking a huge weight off the customer’s plate without adding too much to your team’s workload and going to deep in the big data bubble.
For example, if you sell tractors, implementing a follow-up service call 6 months after the initial sale gives your technicians a chance to connect with your customers, get ahead of machinery issues, and establish their reputation as an expert. Finding small ways to alleviate customer tension points and cut back on the costs associated with machine downtime will drastically change how customers view your organization. If you focus on only one of these aftersales trends in 2024, make it this one.
If your customers have to call your sales team or reach out to their regional technician to get a replacement part, you’re neglecting an entire sales channel. E-commerce solutions are the preferred browsing method of most consumers today. This is not just a B2C phenomenon, but at least as much in B2B solutions. Equipping your customer experience with an easy-to-use e-commerce platform can help you stand apart from other OEMs in the digital landscape.
Customers need to be able to search and find replacement parts within seconds. If they can’t, they’ll dismiss your e-commerce options and, if it’s a priority, find an OEM who can provide a seamless online shopping experience. Consumers expect that e-commerce shops have many different capabilities. Clear price labels, accurate lead times, part finders, part masters, part images, visual part identifiers, bill-of-materials, and a top-notch UX are some of the top priorities when it comes to designing and creating e-commerce shops.
Aftersales trends in 2024 demand that OEM online shopping experiences mirror the most sophisticated e-commerce platforms. Even if you have to start out with a bare-bones approach to e-commerce, continue investing in this purchase channel until it’s just as easy to get a spare machine part online as it is to try on and order new sunglasses.
Across the consumer landscape, sustainability gets more important each year. Although it’s a bit more complex to achieve sustainability targets in the OEM space than most consumer goods, OEMs have the responsibility to weave sustainability into their products. In many cases, this means manufacturing machinery and other products that have long life cycles, can be repaired easily, and are eligible for reuse opportunities.
Machines are more complex than ever before, but they’re also expected to last longer, succeed in a variety of settings, and be re-sold to new users down the line. The circular economy, which has taken off in recent years due to a new consumer focus on sustainability, is more than thrifting outfits and buying children’s toys at yard sales. It has evolved into a complex web of interconnected users, circular products, and industries.
For OEMs, this 2024 aftersales trend means that machine maintenance will require advanced solutions, quality parts, experienced technicians, and an integrated machine sales and leasing environment. Breaking into the machine leasing or resale space hasn’t always been attractive to OEMs, but now, it’ll become the standard. Along with servicing and initial sales, is your organization ready to support resale demands and leasing needs?
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the rise of remanufactured parts. Often referred to as “reman” parts, remanufactured parts are OEM parts that have been rebuilt or refinished to as close to their original state as possible. Sustainability-conscious consumers will see reman parts as a signal that your organization shares the same values as them, positioning you as a top OEM in their minds. In a circular economy, honing in on sustainability and longevity will boost customer perception of your brand and cut down on business expenses.
Experienced technicians aren’t a “trend” exactly, but these hard-to-come-by professionals play a critical role in the overall customer aftersales experience. Skilled technical experts have become one of the most glaring labor challenges in this decade. In the same way that plumbers, electricians, and lawn care experts are navigating high demand and low labor supply, getting OEM technicians into the field at a rate that meets customer demand can feel impossible.
Take time to assess and adjust your onboarding, enablement and training approach for new and current technicians. Are new technicians properly trained and paired with experienced team members to ensure a smooth onboarding experience? Do your technicians stay refreshed in machinery changes or technology advancements? Are your technicians equipped with the right digital tools saving all the tiresome manual pre- and afterwork, making sure technicians can spend time on what they’re best at: repairing. If not, your technicians will be providing sub-par service to customers and threatening retention numbers.
Once a solid training plan is in place, you can adjust how your technicians are spending their time. Reduce administrative work as much as possible, implement automation tools that make their jobs easier, and create a standard documentation process so key information doesn’t disappear when your most tenured technician retires.
For years, the aftermarket was more of an afterthought than anything. But today, succeeding in aftersales and OEM more generally, requires manufacturers to manage competing priorities, shift their strategic goals, and incorporate aftersales into their core business models. At first, it can feel like a lot to manage, but once aftersales is fully integrated into your business, your margins will reach new heights. Stay agile, implement technology wherever possible, and let go of what the OEM landscape used to look like.
We’re entering a new era of how OEMs serve their customers, so while there’s a lot of opportunity there, there is also a good amount of risk. If you fail to incorporate the above aftersales trends in 2024 into your business operations, you’ll get left behind as your competitors swoop in to save your customer’s day. If you can stay ahead of the curve, you’ll become the OEM that frustrated customers turn to while retaining all the happy customers you’ve created along the way. There is a lot to loose, but also a lot to win.
What are the aftersales trends in 2024?
If you want to set yourself apart in the aftermarket and capture new business opportunities that exist in that space, you’ll need to focus on a few key aftersales trends. In 2024, OEM aftersales trends are digital consumers, proactive servicing, e-commerce platforms, circular economy enablement, and enhancing technician quality.
How to succeed in aftersales in 2024?
No matter what industry you serve, aftersales are a key function of any OEM business in 2024. The high margins on replacement parts and service opportunities will propel the growth of your business. To tap into these opportunities, you’ll need to harness the power of data analytics, personalized customer experiences, high-quality replacement parts, and all 2024 aftersales trends as listed above.
How do these trends fit into broader industry shifts and what are the competitive implications for OEMs?
These trends respond to evolving customer demands, shaping OEMs’ competitive landscape by prioritizing aftersales services for sustained growth.
What privacy and security considerations should OEMs address when collecting and using customer data?
OEMs must prioritize privacy and security in data collection, ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR and CCPA while transparently communicating data practices to customers.
What strategies can OEMs employ to attract and retain skilled technicians amid labor shortages?
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