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Ferrari: Curating the Buying Experience

Giuseppe Cattaneo
Current CEO at Ferrari, China

Learning outcomes

  • How Ferrari builds a luxury and exclusive experience from the showroom to delivery of the vehicle

Executive Bio

Giuseppe Cattaneo

Current CEO at Ferrari, China

Giuseppe is the Current CEO at Ferrari, China and has over 25 years experience working in China. From 2004-9, he was CEO of Pirelli’s China Division before being promoted to CEO of APAC in 2009. Giuseppe then joined Ferrari as President and CEO of Far East Asia in 2013 before rejoining Pirelli as CEO of APAC for another three years in September 2014. Giuseppe has recently rejoined Ferrari in 2020 with full P&L responsibility of the China business. Read more

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Interview Transcript

Let’s talk about the customer experience for the first purchase that you mentioned is so crucial. It has to be consistent; it has to be very high quality. How do you think about curating the buying experience, from start to finish? Can you walk me through how that works? If I want to buy a Ferrari, in China, what do I do? Do I go direct to Ferrari? Do I go to a dealership? How do you curate that experience?

The experience is a journey because, first of all, you identify the car. We have good coverage. All the main cities have a dealership. The workshops and aftersales have a much broader coverage but we have a strategy focused only on the flagship stores, in flagship cities. We bring the client within the Ferrari family. As soon as they come into the dealership, they have to feel an experience. They have to feel the corporate identity. When they enter the dealership, they are already inside the Ferrari world and the CI, the corporate identity of the shops, the way we decorate the shop, the color the choose, all the touchpoints inside the showroom, are the same all over the world. The experience when you first enter should be similar to any other showroom in the world.

Once inside, you have to feel the luxury but also the exclusivity. Our products should be considered very exclusive because worldwide, we sell, all in all, 10,000 cars. When you sell 10,000 cars, there are very few cars around. Even if you consider that a Ferrari never actually dies and we never deregister a car. This is a unique situation for our brand. Somebody buys a Ferrari and they keep it forever. Or they will sell it to someone who will keep it forever. Or, this one, we sell to someone else and they will keep it forever. At the end of the day, no one actually deregisters and smash a car. It’s never a piece of metal, a Ferrari. It’s always a nice car to drive.

We have certain requirements for our dealerships and you have to display the whole range, in production, at that time. When you enter the showroom, you have the full range available and the person will show you around the showroom, to explain the different cars and to explain all the different types of performance and personalization that you can have in the car. We have an area of the showroom dedicated to personalization, with a nice sofa and all the samples that you can choose from, such as color. It’s quite an experience, actually. I would say that, if you come in with a precise idea of which car you want, it’s easy. You come in, you say, look, I’m very well-prepared – maybe a repeater – I know what I want. But the best solution is when you don’t know what you want, and we take you through the overall experience and we develop your awareness of the brand and we develop your demand.

To be honest, I think this is quite common in luxury business, overall, whether you’re talking about cars or watches. You need to accompany your clients during their journey and everyone has their own journey. The process and the model is the same but then everyone has their own journey and you take them through the different aspects.

Let’s assume you decide on the model and you want to personalize. We have different grades of personalization. You can go from, simply choosing the color of the car or the color of the interior, to decide and build up your own color. We have hundreds of colors, but you can decide which color you want, even if it’s outside our enormous choice of colors that we have. You can go up, up, up to what we call one-off, where you build up your own car. There are a very few limitations, mostly linked to the chassis. But once you have the chassis, then you can build up your own car. This is not very common, to be honest, because you need to be quite affluent to do that. But it is an experience. So you can personalize your car, from simply choosing a color, to go up and up, to the maximum level of personalization, which is the one-off car. This is the choosing the product part.

Once you have chosen your product, you will have what we call a contact plan. Normally, you have to wait to have a Ferrari. This is what typically happens. Not because we want to have a waiting list, but because the capacity is relatively limited. As I said, it’s about 10,000 and the demand is much higher than the capacity. Simply, there is this lag and you have to wait. There are different waiting lists, for different models. It can go from a minimum of 12 months, to a maximum of 36, where you have to wait three years for your car. From the moment you place the order, to the moment you receive your car, there is what we call a contact plan. The contact plan is very interesting, because there are several things in it. Basically, you take the hand of your client, the day they place the order, after the personalization has been completed, and then you keep in touch with them, showing them where the car is and what level of completion it is at. You send some models of the car. We have a cooperation with a very nice modelling company, called Amalgam – it is British, I think – we have an agreement with them and at a particular moment in the contact plan, they build up a similar model, extremely detailed, of the car that the client is going to receive, at a later point. For example, if it’s an F8 Tributo, and it’s yellow, with a brown interior, you will receive a yellow F8, with brown interior in exactly the same configuration of the car that you will see, a few months later.

Then we have several other things inside the contact plan. It changes slightly, depending on the culture and the countries but, roughly, we keep you updated about where your car is and how long it will be until you receive it. Then there is the delivery of the car. The delivery of the car is a ceremony. We have a ceremony, inside the showroom. There is an area dedicated to delivery. You receive your car with certain additional things, such as the certificate of the car. We emphasize this part a lot, because we believe that when you buy a Ferrari, especially if it’s the first one, you have a sense of accomplishment. For example, if you are a banker and you make a big deal and you buy a Ferrari, if you are an entrepreneur and you do some big business and you buy a Ferrari or you are an actor or a football player and you sign a big contract and you buy a Ferrari.

There is always an accomplishment behind the purchase of this car and so we celebrate this moment. Then the moment you have the car and you become an owner, then you enter the club of the Ferraristi. In the past it was less built up. Now, with the digitalization of society, it’s becoming easier. We have one app, where you subscribe and then you become part of the family. Whatever events we have in the future, in your area or in any area in the world that you would like to join, such as a cavalcade or a reunion, you can go to. There are plenty of things we do. You can join the Ferrari Owners Club that organizes social events, social gatherings and many other things. But becoming part of the family is an essential part of the post-delivery experience.

Coming back to your question, the journey starts when you enter the showroom and you actually buy the car. But then, it will never finish, over the years to come, until you have the ownership of the car. The more cars you buy, the more you enter into our more and more select area of clients, that you can access new models, special models. For example, if we launch a special model, normally we have certain criteria to allocate the cars. The cars are not on the market. You don’t come with the money, buy and go. You will need to have certain criteria. Every time, it’s different. Normally, we tend to deliver or to allocate special series cars, limited editions, to collectors.

It’s a complex way of saying that you enter the family and, if you like it – because it sometimes happens that they don’t like to stay in, but very few – you become a member of our global club, with several local branches, and you become part of a family. We treat the clients, one by one. This is an effort.

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