Mercedes CIO Drakopoulos (Photo: Claus Dick)

HANOVER - Internet companies such as Amazon can show automakers the way to a better customer-facing digital sales approach, Mercedes-Benz CIO Nikitas Drakopoulos said Thursday.

Automakers have to face the challenges that do not only comprise makeovers of web pages but every single area of car sales, Drakopoulos told the automotiveIT Congress here. "The only way is to understand, copy and adapt the ways of Amazon and the like, and rapidly implement them," he said.

Customers in the auto business today expect a highly customized and professional experience in physical and digital touchpoints, Drakopoulos said.

"Physical retail touch points still play an important role within our multi-channel sales," he said, but he added that online approaches are not the only way to attract and keep customers.

Therefore, Mercedes is trying to optimize its customer experience management, looking at areas such as interactivity, individuality or virtuality, which traditionally were sovereign territories of internet giants like Amazon or Google.

The automotiveIT Congress, which is hosted by the automotiveIT Group, has as its theme “The Auto Industry of the Future - The New Role of IT.”