According to the latest Statista data, approximately 81.5 million automobiles will be sold globally by the end of 2018. By 2020, there would be 103.5 million units of cars sold all over the world. This is good news for the automotive industry. And, to keep up with this healthy increase in sales, car manufacturers and dealers must look for new ways to foster sales — like using virtual reality car showrooms.
The need for virtual reality car showrooms
The automotive industry is one of the first to embrace the virtual reality technology. Manufacturers like Toyota, BMW, and Audi now have visual showrooms which they use to introduce upcoming models to the market.
But, there are car dealers out there who are still stuck with the old-fashioned style of selling cars.
In 2016, a national survey conducted in the US found out that 87% of American car buyers dislike the traditional car dealership. For them, visiting a car dealership is a “waste of time”. They dislike aggressive and hard selling because it makes them feel anxious and uncomfortable. And, they’d rather purchase a car online, provided that the dealer gives assurances.
This research should shake today’s auto dealers. Instead of being product-centric, why not make it customer-centric?
We can say that a marketing strategy is customer-centric when the way of doing business prioritizes customer experience before and after a sale. People who want to buy a car will appreciate this. It will result in your customer loyalty and free advertisement (word of mouth and peer recommendation), which drive your profits to a regular car dealer.
72% of car buyers will visit car dealerships when their process improves.
– Beepi, Inc., a previous US-based online car marketplace
Customer centricity is not just a trend. It’s a new approach to doing business. It’s going to be the norm for a very long time.
One customer-centric approach that regular car dealers can do is using modern day technology to improve the buying process. V12 Data’s research revealed that 70% of the younger millennials find new technology and infotainment features useful when they purchase a car. This means car dealers can use interactive websites, product videos, and a VR car showroom to sell their products better.
One by one, digital marketplaces for cars and motor vehicles are embracing the VR technology. They’re using it to attract buyers and ensure customer satisfaction. They’re using it as their edge to win against the competition.
How VR improves the car shopping experience
If you’ve been to the New York International Auto Show or any similar expo, you will see how much the VR technology changed the way people sell cars. You can see automakers offering virtual reality experiences to attendees. And, these VR simulations lure a lot of people as much as the displayed concept cars and newly launched models do.
It starts with a showgoer who volunteers to try the simulation. S/he will sit on a chair that feels like the car’s seat. Using VR goggles and gloves, s/he will be able to explore the vehicle in a 3D 360-degree video environment. The experience is often enhanced by electronic manipulation of the viewer’s seat.
The events and public VR experiences like this make VR is the new marketing vehicle of the automobile industry. It enables the consumer to check the quality of the vehicle and to test drive.
With VR, the consumer gives car maker and the dealer a halo.
In addition, VR addresses the concerns such as lack of space in dealerships.
Auto dealers can’t display all the models and colours of the car they sell. When they have their own virtual reality car showrooms, they can show their client every technical detail they want to know about the car. Their client can walk around the vehicle, open the door, sit on the driver’s seat, and configure a car’s feature on their own.
With a VR app in their arsenal, customer service becomes easier for the car dealer and the client is more comfortable with the purchase.