Imagine that you’re a car buyer searching for a car. You find one you like and step into your garage, project the car into it, and spend a few minutes walking around. You open up the doors, pop the trunk and the hood, and decide you like what you see. Then, you send a message to a dealership to schedule a test drive.
While virtual reality automotive marketing and virtual showrooms are making headlines, augmented reality (AR) experiences like the one described can be used by customers through devices they already own. Tech-savvy dealerships are already using AR to create augmented reality car showrooms, extending the reach of their marketing and sales departments. With the right approach and the right resources, these showrooms can be instrumental in engaging car shoppers—and turning them into customers.
THE POWER OF AUGMENTED REALITY ASSETS
There is often some confusion between augmented reality and virtual reality. VR takes the real-world user and puts them into an interactive virtual space. AR is effectively the inverse, taking a virtual element and projecting it into a real-world environment. In car sales, this takes the form of a virtual car that users can interact with through their phone, tablet, or AR headset.
Augmented reality has an important advantage over VR in that it doesn’t rely on expensive, dedicated hardware. Instead, car shoppers can use it directly from the devices they use in their daily lives. This may be AR car sale’s true strength: bringing the showroom experience to customers where they are most comfortable.
Research consistently tells us that the part of car buying customers most wish they could avoid is visiting the showroom in person. Many dealerships are already changing their practices to make the process less intimidating to their customers, and less time-consuming. According to Andrea Baker, a consultant at NCM Associates, “Very forward-thinking dealerships right now are trying to come up with a way to do a complete transaction online without [the buyer] ever even walking into the store.”
Whether dealers are seeking to minimize time spent in the showroom or avoid it altogether, an augmented reality car showroom accessible through a customer’s devices can be a vital part of creating a more attractive shopping experience. It allows car shoppers to explore the cars they want to see and take their time comparing models and features, effectively replicating much—or even all—of the in-person process. Indeed, AR can be so compelling that it facilitates the deployment of complete online shopping solutions.
But while an augmented reality car showroom can help car shoppers avoid stepping into a dealership, it can also enhance the real-world shopping experience. When used in the physical showroom, this innovative technology can help dealers engage potential customers and find buyers for their inventories.
AN AUGMENTED REALITY CAR SHOWROOM CREATES NEW OPTIONS FOR DEALERS
Many car shoppers know what it’s like to find or build their perfect vehicle online only to find it absent from the local dealership. The trim level may lack the feature that won them over, their preferred color may not be available, or the model may not be on the lot at all. Nobody wants to settle, especially when it comes to something as expensive and lifestyle-defining as a car.
No dealership or dealership group can keep every color and trim level for every vehicle in their inventory on every lot. Offering augmented reality experiences in the dealership provides a way for interested customers to see and interact with models in the trim levels and colors that interest them, even if the vehicle isn’t present in the showroom. If they like what they see, the dealer can order that particular model and configuration for the customer. In other cases, AR may help them determine that the car on the lot suits their needs after all, avoiding the need for vehicle transport.
AR is a powerful tool that can close deals by giving car shoppers exactly what they’re looking for without taking up a great deal of time or forcing them to settle for what is available on-site. Today, it is also easily accessible via inexpensive consumer devices and purpose-built apps, making it easier than ever to integrate an augmented reality car showroom in the sales process.
FINDING THE RIGHT AR ASSETS FOR DEALERS
Computers and network technology have changed the world in ways that would have been impossible to imagine even a few decades ago—and this includes the automotive industry. Today, apps like RelayCars allow consumers to explore vehicles in virtual and augmented reality car showrooms on the device of their choices. With well over a million downloads, this innovative app has established widespread appeal and gives dealerships new and innovative options to connect to car shoppers online.
For dealerships that want to offer in-dealership AR experiences, RelayCars Pro is an ideal way to expand into this new dimension. This white label app can be branded for dealers and is paired with the largest library of augmented reality assets available for commercial use.
By understanding the potential of the augmented reality car showroom and drawing on the right resources, car dealerships can create compelling AR experiences and connect to today’s modern car shoppers.