The Customer Journey of Electric Vehicles in The South Korean Market
Abstract: The customer journey is a complex phenomenon which consists of numerous touch points. The customer journey is not only constructed through touch points but also by the level of involvement that the journey is characterized by. Thus, the customer journey could be designed and characterized by different touch points depending on the level of involvement but also the specific market. This research aims to discover the design of the customer journey and its integrated touch points of electric vehicles in the South Korean market. The study is built upon the chronological steps; pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase in order to derive the outline of the customer journey. In order to fulfill the aim, a qualitative research strategy was chosen. Semi-structured interviews with experts on the South Korean market and experience from the automotive industry were conducted. Furthermore, in order to strengthen and increase the reliability of the interviews an additional survey was conducted with customers operating in the South Korean market. The main findings suggest that the customer journey cannot be considered to have a consistent shape, rather it can be viewed from different perspectives. Thus, in some instances it can be viewed as linear considering the purchasing process consisting of the phases pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. However, it could also be viewed as circular due to the loyalty loop and retention aspects of the customer journey and lastly it can be viewed as a maze where consumers take different paths towards the same destination or could decide to abandon the journey. Furthermore, the most prominent activities in the pre-purchase phase are information search, Word of Mouth and reviews where the most important touch points are Naver, Google, Kakao and the physical meeting with a car-retailer. In the purchase phase, payment and delivery showed to be the most important activities. These would rather be carried out in a physical setting, putting emphasis on the physical meeting as the most prominent touchpoint. However, if the purchases are performed online, the company website showed to be of significance and thus an additional important touchpoint. In the post-purchase phase the touch points related to loyalty , reviews and service were most prominent. The specific touch points were loyalty programs, physical meeting in after-services and reviews on Naver Café, Naver blogs as well as pre-designed review forms. An additional finding that should be highlighted is that online touch points are more related to the pre-purchase and post-purchase phase, however the physical element still permeates the entire customer journey.
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