Engine Creative is a creative service and digital products agency with a thirst for innovation. We are passionate about bringing brands to life online, on mobile devices and through augmented and virtual experiences.
3 ways augmented reality is transforming car dealerships
22 November 2017 10:47am
Across many different industries and sectors, emerging technologies have changed the way customers shop. The automotive industry is no different.
For a long time, if a customer wanted to educate themselves about cars they would have to visit a dealership and pick up a brochure or speak to car salesmen. The seller always had more information than the buyer. The internet changed the asymmetry of information and buyer’s expectations have changed as a result. Consumers now spend more time shopping online and subsequently visit fewer dealerships when they decide to make a purchase. Augmented reality has emerged as a solution for car dealerships dealing with shifting customer behaviors and expectations.
Here are 3 ways augmented reality is transforming car dealerships and the way customers shop for cars:
1. Improving customer education
Making the technical as accessible as possible is often a key part of the automotive sales process. Augmented reality provides a unique way for customers to see and experience technical features in a way that they will easily understand and quickly engage with.
Delphi, a leading global supplier of automotive parts, needed an interactive tool to help communicate their commitment to technology and innovation, as well as educate their customers about the finer details of their products. Working together we created an ‘x-ray car’ AR experience at the Automechanika show in Frankfurt. Visitors were able to scan a Honda Civic car on the exhibition stand, allowing them to see and interact with the entire core Delphi product range fitted within the car.
The possibilities of using AR to increase brand engagement and educate potential consumers is not limited to events. Companies like Hyundai have launched an augmented reality automotive sales tool.
Although customers can now access everything they need to know about a car online, customers still like something to hold on to, something that can be passed on when they visit a dealership. With the introduction of augmented reality and interactive content, such as Top Gear's Augmented Reality magazine, print and video can be brought together to provide consumers with a fully immersive and exciting experience. In the case of car dealerships, this means fully augmented product brochures and interactive stands.
Augmented reality unlocks new ways to connect with customers and conveys technical information better than through much more traditional channels such as online and video.
2. Transforming product marketing
AR product visualisationis considered the ‘try before you buy’ for the digital age. In the case of car dealerships, 3D product visualisation with AR presents a new, improved way to showcase their products. Customers can explore different specifications and different models, and then interact with their customisation at home on their drive or in the car showroom.
Using Apple’s ARKit, the Engine Creative R&D team created a car configurator app to enable users to place photorealistic 3D models of their favourite Audi in any real-world environment. This means that any model in any configuration can be placed directly in front of customers, creating a rich and immersive AR experience with many possibilities for car dealerships.
Another example of product visualisation comes from Jaguar Land Rover, who released a new augmented reality advertisement in June. The campaign was designed to not only help users explore the vehicle but, more importantly, drive orders for when the car went on sale in August.
3. Increasing sales
AR is not only improving the consumer’s product experience but changing the way the automotive retail industry sells cars. With customers beginning their purchase journey online and with all the relevant information at their disposal, automotive retail has had to shift from a product-driven to a customer-centric sales approach.
Car dealerships are changing and augmented reality has helped facilitate this change by paving the way for digitised showrooms, bypassing the problem of limited physical inventory and the complex range of car models and specifications. Audi was one of the first to improve the physical showroom experience by applying AR to Audi City, the world’s first fully digital car showroom.
This is just the beginning and we’re seeing more and more examples of automotive brands and dealerships working together to provide fully interactive retail and branding experiences.
The future’s bright, the future’s augmented
As the UK’s leading AR agency, we’ve been pushing the possibilities of AR since 2011 (so before it was cool in other words.)
Augmented reality is a sales and marketing tool not only for car dealerships, but businesses from all sectors. For brands looking for solutions here and now, then get in touch with our team of AR experts to set up a one-to-one augmented reality workshop to understand exactly how AR could fit into your sales and marketing strategy.