What about user experience? What happens along the Customer Journey of consumers who are not only increasingly digitised but also more adept at physical experiences and personal interaction?
Volkswagen Group gave us a challenge: to help them digitize several of their dealerships in France.
Within the widespread notion of digital transformation, it is paradoxical that those sectors with more analogue products are the first to consider sales and the consumer experience as an omnichannel world.
Meanwhile, the automotive sector, a model of technology and the advancement of society, often continues to sell its products and services through car dealers that are not committed to technology or in warehouses set up as sales offices.
How car dealers and their customer relations are transforming
4 technologies that transform the customer experience at car dealers
In its report “From branches to experience centres” (Accenture, 2018), Accenture already pointed to three types of change that currently dominate the evolution of mass consumption sectors that until relatively recently were not considered Retail in a strict sense (mainly banking, healthcare and automotive):
They will be centres for interaction. With the brand and its values, and among the consumer/fan community itself.
In a digitised society, the value interaction will be human, but the customer experience differential will be created by surprising digital content and formats.
Vehicles will be another product in an expanded dealership ecosystem and complement the services, accessories, merchandising and collaborations that, again thanks to digital channels, help to increase the profitability of the space.
To adapt car dealers to this vision of Retail focused on customer relations, loyalty and recurrence, in this post we enumerate some of the most interesting technologies on the market (focusing on packaged solutions with agile and minimal development).
All of them are based on 5 principles that seek to make technology an accessory tool to the experience, not the protagonist itself. A nuance that allows us to maintain the focus on the user, the product and the brand.
Consumers live in a hyperconnected world where brands create omnichannel spheres in which the point of contact can be both physical and digital.
Consumers do not want repetitions in the different channels. They relate each channel to the information and experience obtained or which they hope to obtain in each.
Consumers are saturated with information and the main value of the brand is to help them navigate through all that information. The official brand information.
Until now, dealers have been points-of-sale. If we want to build consumer loyalty, a paradigm shift is needed. Give new value to existing large centres and create new points of physical interaction, closer to home and with more casual traffic.
Price over emotion? Never, and even less so now, especially in the automotive sector, where prices are inherently high. Price determines which vehicle and brand we will buy within a segment, which in turn determines subjective preference. And this subjectivity is fuelled by experiences.
4 Technologies that improve the customer experience in car dealers
Audiovisual content is, after test drives, the biggest emotional hook that can connect the consumer with the brand. Good content that develops brand values and glorifies the driving experience is an indispensable lever to attract customers.
But the value of car dealers does not lie in replicating on a small screen what the user has already seen on social media, but rather in presenting expanded content in a spectacular way.
It is also an ideal technology to present fully brand-controlled arguments and information while the customer is waiting to be attended.
The age of information is also the age of personalisation. But personalising a vehicle is not as simple nor as quick as walking into a car dealership. Personalising a car or motorbike is a big commitment and, therefore, doubts and insecurity increase during the process.
Reinforcing consumer confidence at this point through an official configurator is much more comprehensive and in a format that offers a better experience than a computer screen. Also, combined with an attractive display of materials and finishes, it can be key to closing a sale or simply entertaining consumers while interacting with the brand and its products.
Surprising the consumer is not just about filling the shop with experiences and removing the human factor from the equation. Quite the opposite. Person-to-person interaction, powered by technology, is the true value of brand interaction points.
Mirroring systems precisely help to connect these two worlds and combine expert guidance from a sales agent using the virtual configurator to assist the consumer throughout the sales process, and a large digital dashboard displaying the supporting content and configuration results in a large format and in real-time.
Virtual and augmented reality
But the experience of configuration through a screen goes only so far.
This, to a large extent, is the result of not having the certainty of what the outcome will be and whether it will correspond to expectations.
Today we can solve this problem thanks to virtual reality or augmented reality. Two technologies can help customers to choose between two versions of the same vehicle and acquire accessories that they are not entirely sure about.
Although stand-alone technologies can be very effective and simple to implement, there is a trend that is gaining momentum across Retail in general and even more so in sectors where the exclusivity of the point-of-sale is paramount, such as the automotive sector: custom-designed digital experiences.
These projects, as their name suggests, start from an objective experience and then combine the aforementioned technologies with spatial design that makes them “invisible” or unobtrusive.
In this way, we achieve much more powerful points-of-sale on a sensory level because, in addition to the immersion provided by technology, we will be adding two key factors: novelty and full integration.
This is what we discovered
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