Hyundai Reshapes the Automotive Sales Industry by Revealing the Showroom of the Future
Some find it exciting while others dread it, walking into a car dealership showroom is a necessity when it comes to purchasing a new car. Whether you know exactly what you are looking for or are at a loss of what your next vehicle will be, having that conversation with the salesperson can be exhausting. The role of a car salesman has been constantly shifting over the last two decades. Once the role of experts who knew more than the average person about the cars in their showroom, the interaction between salesperson and customer is now about providing the best experience rather than a list of features.
Fifteen years ago, if you were thinking of buying a new a car your first stop would be the dealership. Perhaps you flipped through some magazines and asked some friends about which car they would recommend for you but that was as far as most of us went. Nowadays it is remarkably different. A bulk of the research is done through self-study. You search online for reviews on a particular car, read through the specs, watch a few YouTube videos to see other people’s experiences before taking one for a test drive. You may not know everything about the vehicle but now you can certainly ask more informed questions. You then approach the salesperson whose role is to convince you that the car you are interested in is the solution for you.
The change in our purchasing habits doesn’t stop there. The industry is becoming more technology driven as the focus for consumers becomes more information based. They prefer to know everything about the vehicle they are considering buying and it is becoming increasingly rare to find a customer walk onto a lot having very little idea of what they need, leaving it to the salesperson to fill them in.
Hyundai are at the forefront of this innovation with the dealership of the future. But this isn’t some far reaching concept that we will be explored at some time decades from now, it is happening right now. Using virtual reality technology and partnering with Brisbane based Virtual Reality marketing agency Immerse Enterprise, Hyundai have developed a fully immersive virtual showroom. This is considered by many to be the next step in the transition towards a more customer driven, interactive shopping experience.
While most of our information is sourced online before we even step foot in the dealership, the quality of that information however, is still a fraction of what can be gained from asking specific questions to the salesperson. Utilising VR technology, Hyundai is able to bridge the gap between that search for information online and the actual experience of being able to interact with a showroom and come face to face with your next vehicle.
Through the HTC Vive Virtual Reality Showroom, customers are able to teleport to several interactive virtual stations which display all the information, features and specifications of Hyundai’s latest vehicles. This gives customers the chance to learn more about each vehicle and find one that matches their unique requirements.
The experience doesn’t end there. We all know that the dealership is where the real deal breaker comes into play when purchasing a new car, the test drive. This is also possible using the embedded 360 video test drive. This allows customers to be situated in the passenger seat of the vehicle, experiencing a test drive while also learning more about the vehicle from a specialist.
What is even more exciting about having this experience in virtual reality is that the vehicle doesn’t even have to be released to the market before you have the chance to be seated in one, virtually of course. This is true for the latest pre released model i30 which is showcased in the current experience.
Upon hearing about this exciting new technology shaking up the role of a car salesman, those who are on the front line of selling cars might feel a little adverse to the possibility that their jobs could be next on the chopping block of automation. Far from it. While the auto industry is faced with some massive changes, it is important to understand that there are even greater opportunities for those willing to utilise this technology and adopt these experiences to their own business.
Through the virtual showroom experience, car salespeople have their own user interface which takes into account feedback from customers engaged in the experience. This has allowed Hyundai to have a greater understanding of which features were most important to each customer and use that data to measure the likelihood that the customer will make a purchase.
This is a bonus for both parties. For the customer, they are able to have their voice heard and delivered directly to both the dealership and manufacture on which features they resonate with most. This then provides them with an enhanced customer experience towards vehicles that are tailored to their needs. For the dealers, they are able to gain more insight into what motivates the customer to purchase a vehicle and review feedback directly from the customer. What this means is the features that are truly important to customers will be homed in to meet their expectations.
Hyundai was able to achieve their promotional goals through the immersive experience. Working with Immerse Enterprise as their VR marketing partner, Hyundai wanted to create an experience that demonstrated their proficiency in the latest technology, developing a clear brand image for the new i30.
As our society becomes increasingly independent when researching potential purchases, we find ourselves at a crossroads of the online world, where there is abundance of free information, and reality where we make decisions on big ticket purchases. Virtual reality acts as a bridge that blends both elements. We meet our desire for information and want to feel that we can make decisions based on the knowledge we acquire.
Through the virtual showroom, we are able to experience everything that makes visiting a real showroom exciting and informative. The advantage of the experience comes without any of those drawbacks that can make us feel anxious such as high pressure sales or feeling ignorant in the face of an expert. We are able to learn at our own pace, in the comfort of our own home and make a decision when we are ready. While there are no replacing physical dealerships anytime soon, we can certainly benefit from saving the time and energy through immersing ourselves in the showroom of the future.