Toyota Retail System
- Transforming the world’s largest automotive manufacturer’s approach to customer engagement
Research into strategic marketing and customer engagement has resulted in the development of the Toyota Retail System – a comprehensive benchmarking toolkit for the retail activities of the world’s largest automotive company.
The Toyota Production System is a process-driven, production-orientated approach to the delivery of continuous improvement and the elimination of manufacturing faults. It has been central to Toyota’s rise to its present position as the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.
In 2004, Loughborough researchers were invited to help develop a similar system to optimise the company’s customer-facing activities.
Customer interaction was a key consideration in the early research that considered the attitudes and personality traits of car sales people. A wide-ranging study highlighted the respective roles of two aspects of “adult playfulness” in determining sales success. It was found that “fun-loving” leads to a learning orientation, adaptive selling and increased job satisfaction while “frivolous” negatively impacts on job performance.
Another vital element of the system’s development was the extent to which information technology should be embraced. Research carried out at three Toyota dealerships investigated this aspect by examining how the introduction of a computer-assisted selling process influenced customer perceptions of the overall purchasing experience. The process not only improved customers’ general perceptions, but also enhanced the effectiveness of sales staff.
The final element of research that contributed to the development of the Toyota Retail System explored the customer’s perspective on complexity of car buying and informed approaches to adapting campaigns to target specific market segments.
GOOD PRACTICE BENCHMARK
In 2009 and 2010, Toyota’s National Marketing and Sales Companies implemented the Toyota Retail System as a benchmark of good practice in the development of their dealer networks across Europe, influencing every aspect of the retail experience – showroom layout, display analysis, merchandising and customer process interaction.
TRANSFORMATION OF MOTOR SHOW STANDS
Using the principles of the Toyota Retail System, the company’s motor show stand was redeveloped, resulting in greater visitor numbers – at the March 2013 Geneva motor show, Toyota’s stand uniquely received more visitors than its main rival, VW.
RETAILER TRAINING ENHANCED
The Toyota Retail System is a cornerstone of Toyota’s retailer training. The Director of Marketing and Communications at Toyota’s Global Knowledge Centre has confirmed the system’s “significant impact” on Toyota’s training material.
ENHANCING TOYOTA’S WORLD POSITION
The Director of Marketing and Communications at Toyota’s Global Knowledge Centre has remarked: “The Toyota Retail System project... has shaped what we do as a company at the retailer/customer interface globally. It is a fundamental key to us being the largest automotive company in the world.”