NEW TECHNOLOGY: Volvo CE takes the inside track to guide its customers
by Tony Lawrence
Imagine visiting a major construction industry tradeshow and being offered a personal guide to help you zoom in on the very best products and most exciting events. That, in effect, was what Volvo Construction Equipment did for both existing and potential customers – via their mobile phones and tablets – at the 2014 CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas.
“Initially, we designed our Volvo CE Insider app for the trade show last March,” says John Johnston, Volvo CE’s director digital marketing, sales region Americas. “That said, we also had much bigger plans than that – the app is still being used today and downloaded by more and more people every month.
“We named it ‘Insider’ because we wanted people to feel involved and to sense that they were actually getting a look inside Volvo CE itself. By using the app, they could see all our core products and services.”
Events such as last year’s CONEXPO can be over-whelming, with 2,400 exhibitors showcasing products and technologies from all segments of the construction industry, and attracting more than 125,000 visitors.
By downloading Insider on their phones or tablets, customers, salesmen and the media were able to simplify things by accessing the full spectrum of Volvo CE’s offerings, as well as its scheduled announcements, events and press conferences during the event.
“More than that, though,” adds Johnston, “it offered people a variety of ways to access much more information where required. They could download information, follow links or be emailed brochures, for instance, as well as acquiring contact details for local Volvo CE dealers. We surveyed our customers during the design phase and that is what they wanted.”
Crucially, the Insider could be used both on- and offline (on both Android and iOS mobile operating systems), so that visitors could consult it without internet access. However, at Volvo CE’s stand it was fully interactive, with the latest updates and notifications sent out to customers. That also included information on used equipment, with real-time displays of all available machines in a buyer’s region. For those without phones, the app was customized and loaded on to touch-screen computer kiosks.
A key attraction proved to be the ‘Competitive Comparison’ tool, designed by app partner Spec Check to allow customers to pull up the specifications of a machine and compare them with its competitors.
The real beauty of the Insider, however, is that it continues to be used – both at trade shows and in the field.
“We always wanted to make it available globally,” says Johnston, who is based in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. “We have been contacted about it by other global regions within Volvo CE and are now launching it in Latin America. It’s just a matter of tailoring it to local products, services and promotions. It’s very flexible. Customers who visited CONEXPO and downloaded the app have kept it on their phones, checking on information when, for example, they are working in a quarry or on a building project without internet access. Our dealers also use it – their salesmen show it to customers who in turn download it to their phones. We are still getting around 100 new users
Johnston, with Volvo CE for more than 10 years, adds: “Our customers are more and more sophisticated in using these types of tools. This app is not just about marketing – it goes much further than that.”