Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies might be the future of the retail experience. For many companies and businesses, though, the future is now. Many have integrated extended reality (XR) experiences into their online hubs or feature this technology as part of their app offerings.
Car dealerships need to offer these experiences, but some dealerships might feel that these technologies are out of their realm. Some dealerships might not know how to create XR experiences or where to find XR-compatible assets. These digital assets are accessible; in fact, here’s why the best car stock libraries should offer XR assets.
What is Extended Reality (XR)?
Extended reality (XR for short) is an umbrella term that includes both augmented reality and virtual reality technologies. Extended reality has elevated the online shopping journey and allowed businesses to mirror the in-person experience during the pandemic when many had to close their stores to foot traffic.
However, XR started to gain popularity even before the pandemic shut down business as usual. Companies like Ulta and Sephora were using augmented reality to enable customers to try on products without leaving home. How can consumers swipe on mascara or lipstick without actually visiting the store, though?
Augmented reality experiences combine the real world environment with digital graphics. For Ulta, augmented reality was used for a virtual try-on experience. Using the camera on a smartphone or tablet, consumers could see their face (much like a mirror). Then the augmented reality tool swiped on virtual makeup via digital graphics that were superimposed on the user’s face as it was shown in the camera.
Other businesses created similar augmented reality experiences to simplify the shopping process. Warby Parker allowed consumers to try on different frames. IKEA let customers drop graphic depictions of furniture and other products into their room (as it was captured on camera). Paint companies let customers use augmented reality to color their walls with any paint hue without worry.
XR also includes virtual reality experiences. While many companies favored augmented reality, others integrated virtual reality. Consumers could use a headset like Google Cardboard to enter a virtual realm.
TOMS shoes created a virtual reality experience called “a walk in their shoes.” This experience enabled customers to meet children who directly benefited from TOMS charitable contributions.
Vroom used virtual reality to create a virtual showroom. Users could wear a headset and explore different cars. The experience even allowed them to look in the glove compartment, listen to the engine and take a virtual test drive.
Use Car Stock Photos to Create Elevated XR Experiences
Dealerships that use car stock photos from EVOX Images have XR-compatible digital assets in their reach. EVOX Images offers a library of car stock photos for many different models that are compatible and designed to be used with augmented reality or virtual reality experiences.
In fact, EVOX Images offers 12,000 vehicle models that can be integrated into a virtual reality web-based or app-based experience. Dealerships can use these digital assets to create a virtual reality showroom or perhaps even a virtual reality test drive.
Dealerships also could use digital assets from EVOX Images to design augmented reality showrooms that enable customers to drop a vehicle into their garage or driveway to explore it. These experiences could let customers walk around the vehicle, look inside it or even preview the model in different paint trims.
Use Digital Assets to Create Other Interactive Customer Experiences
Some dealerships simply aren’t ready to embark on an extended reality journey. However, they still want to provide their customers with a more immersive and interactive online experience.
EVOX Images makes it simple for dealerships to offer their customers these unique features. EVOX Images offers 360 degree spin photos and panorama photos. In addition, EVOX also offers animated photos and car stock videos.
Take a Spin with Spin Photos
Spin photos are unique in that they don’t require any advanced technology to enjoy. Customers don’t need a headset and they also don’t need to use a smartphone or other digital device. Spin photos can be explored via a computer (using a mouse) or on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.
Users interact with a 3D image with either a mouse or their fingertip (for smartphones and tablets). Spin photos can be rotated in a full 360 degrees. Exterior spin photos let customers see the car from different vantage points.
Panorama photos are interior spin photos. These photos also are navigated using a mouse or fingertip. Panorama spin photos let users look all around the interior of the car. These photos can help them understand the space in the back seat or even the design of the front seat space.
Animated Photos are Designed to be Noticed
EVOX Images recently introduced animated photos for many models. These photos load automatically when they are included on a website, in an ad or via social media.
Animated photos can be used to catch the attention of the customer. EVOX Images offers the following animated photo options;
- Colorized drive-in
- Colorized drive-in spin
- Colorized fly-around
- Colorized spin
Animated photos show the car changing paint hues as it drives into a photo, spins or is shown from different vantage points. These photos let customers see their favorite model in motion and understand all their paint trim options, too.
Other Ways to Encourage User Interaction Online
Stock image videos also can be included on the dealership’s website to provide an enhanced visual experience for customers. EVOX Images offers videos with professional narration to help customers understand features of each model. Other videos are designed to create a virtual tour of a particular vehicle.
Some stock videos are short and are ideal to be used as part of an online ad. These shorter videos also could be used via social media to showcase a new model.
XR Provides Greater Insight for the Digital Savvy Customer
While dealerships might not be quite ready to utilize extended reality experiences online, immersive technologies could be the future. Younger generations are comfortable using XR technologies to engage online and as a resource to help them understand their product options.
In fact, Retail Dive reported that a Snapchat survey noted that 92 percent of Gen Z wants augmented reality as part of their shopping experience. As this generation bumps the millennials to become the sought after demographic, more companies might be making changes to accommodate for the younger consumer’s preferences.
For dealerships, augmented reality showrooms might become a must-have website feature. If Gen Z prefers to use these experiences while shopping, they might look for the companies that provide them with what they want.
Augmented reality car showrooms can let buyers spend more time shopping at home to decide what they want. This can work to the dealership’s advantage, as these customers might be poised to make buying decisions when they visit the dealership in person.
Consumers who use augmented reality or virtual reality tools might know the model they want and the color they prefer. The dealership’s visit could simply be an opportunity to take a test drive and finalize a deal.
When dealerships are ready to enter the extended reality realm, EVOX Images offers the digital assets dealerships need to create virtual reality or augmented reality experiences for their customers. Explore thousands of models and find images that enhance the website visit and the online buying journey.