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BMW Build Your Own

Background

BMW strives to ensure that every customer interaction – from in-person to digital – directly reflects the brand's core values and the experience of driving: efficient, premium and customized to its users’ needs. This includes everything from its in-person customer experiences, to its digital experiences alike.

BMW makes a tremendous range of vehicles – popular sports sedans and Sports Activity Vehicles, specialist models for the high-performance and high-luxury driver, and an increasing number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. With 196 models to date (and more planned for 2020), visitors to the Build Your Own page have to choose among 140 million potential configurations. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming.

BMW already had an online configurator, but wanted a redesign to leverage newer technologies, differentiate it from competitors and – most importantly – personalize the experience to optimize the path to completion. The old version followed a more transactional model – assuming the customer already knew what they wanted. Research showed that customers were also using the configurator as a research tool. A redesign that improved interaction speed and enhanced personalization would allow customers to find the information they wanted, without adding complexity.

+41%
Higher BYO Build Completion Rates
+14%
More BYO Lead Form Submissions
+5%
Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate

The Creative Idea

Customers have two main needs when using an online configurator: education and validation.

BYO had the potential to be a powerful learning tool for customers curious to see how different vehicles and options fit together. As such, the BMW Client wanted to capture attention with a smarter, more personalized, and integrated tool. Our redesign focused on this unmet need, from explaining complicated or proprietary BMW technology to visually depicting options in an immersive, interactive design studio. At every step, a customer's choices are validated with clear next steps and supportive language.

A configurator experience should also serve as a warm welcome to a brand, not a final step before purchase. The new BYO embraces this approach, serving up personalized recommendations based on user behavior or popularity, further validating the customer's individual tastes and anticipating their needs.

Ultimately, BYO was envisioned as a smart, fun tool that ensures everyone can find the exact BMW that they want – and feel confident in their choices before they contact a dealer.

The Strategy & Insight

BYO is the top lead source across all of BMWUSA.com, popular with both casual enthusiasts building dream cars and shoppers with a serious purchase-intent mindset.

BMW wanted the configurator to reflect the feeling inspired by their product lineup – a quick, responsive, premium experience that customers associate with fun rather than frustration. The more engaged a user is, the more time they spend in BYO – and the more likely they are to complete their build and submit a lead. A slow-loading, tedious, complicated BYO experience would not only result in more friction for the user (leading to a higher bounce rate), but would run completely counter to the fast, pleasurable, intuitive experience of driving. 

In addition, we wanted to use BYO to transition users more effectively from exploration to consideration. By helping them understand that the car in their imagination actually exists and could be theirs, we could intuitively shift the user’s focus from hypothetical fantasy to concrete reality—all while sending dealers more qualified leads in the process.

The Execution

The new BYO experience is fueled by data, but puts the customer in control.

At the outset, users are introduced to the BMW lineup at the highest level, selecting a Series that fits their needs or personality. Pre-configured builds based on real-time user data – from customer location to shopping habits and demographics – are available from the very beginning, offering the option to dive right in to finessing the details. 

After a few simple selections, users enter the immersive Studio and are free to customize to their heart's content. Potentially challenging decisions – such as choosing the right drivetrain or tires – are clearly described and illustrated. Interacting with the Studio is managed with a set of simple controls: customers can zoom, rotate, and enter fully rendered 360° environments at will. The entire experience was designed mobile-first – and is remarkably fast loading, allowing customers to immerse themselves in each interaction. 

As users customize, a one-of-a-kind data algorithm matches their vehicle with nearby dealer inventory in real time. This unique system keeps the brand feeling attainable while subtly reinforcing the reality of ownership.

At its core, the new BYO embodies the fun and freedom of driving a dream car, allowing the customer to focus on the potential thrill of ownership instead of the transaction.

1-in-5
Leads from the new ‘Matched Inventory’ form

The Results

• +41% higher BYO Build Completion Rates

• +14% more BYO Lead Form Submissions

• +5% Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate

• 1-in-5 Leads from the new ‘Matched Inventory’ form

• Lead submissions in BYO were up 23% in 2019 vs. 2018



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BMW Build Your Own

BMW's redesigned Build Your Own (BYO) takes the concept of the online car configurator to a new level of personalization, intelligence, and fun.

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