With no end date on the horizon, the coronavirus has pushed brands and retailers across the globe to find new and meaningful ways to engage and connect with their consumers. For the most part, brands have had to quickly adopt a digital-first approach and the automobile industry is no exception.
From showrooms to service shops, it’s no secret that the automobile industry heavily relies on actual physical presence. For far too long, car brands and dealers have banked on face-to-face interactions and showroom visits to generate sales.
Up until now.
With coronavirus-induced lockdowns, consumers stuck at home are expecting to get their vehicular needs met online. Be it to-
📌 buy a brand new car
📌 extend their expiring leases
📌 get their vehicles serviced or
📌 replace auto parts
But why the sudden shift?
It’s obvious: consumers are growing skeptical to visit a showroom, leave alone interact with salesmen. They want to avoid getting infected and want their needs met safely.
Naturally, auto dealers that pay heed to this changing consumer psychology by adopting innovative technologies and offering buy-from-home options stand to gain.
Huge Opportunity for Auto Brands
With the harsh reality of a vaccine coming to life at least 12 to 18 months later, Covid-19 is changing the way people want to move around:
- Even in a post-covid era, consumers are expected to be wary and avoid public transportation, ride sharing apps and on-demand cab services like Uber, Lyft, etc.
- In fact, a global survey conducted by Cars.com with men and women between 23 and 73 years of age found that over 43% respondents have stopped using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to reduce the odds of catching the virus.
- Over 90% said they have started using their personal cars for a simple reason one would trust their own car over sitting in a stranger’s vehicle that carries several other passengers in a day.
- The study also revealed that 40% of them are considering buying a new car because they no longer want to use public transportation, and 28% said they distrust the cleanliness of other people’s cars.
All of these different psychological factors in turn are likely to create a huge boom for auto industry sales, especially in a post-covid world.
Car Buying Journey 2.0
Right now the fact that consumers across the globe are looking to buy their own vehicles (if they don’t already have one), coupled with their hesitance to visit a showroom is bound to make auto brands push boundaries and:
📌 Leverage technologies that give consumers the confidence to buy cars online and get them delivered at home
But that raises another question: how can consumers buy a car without seeing it, sitting in it and test driving it?
Enter 3D and Augmented Reality
The auto industry is hands down one of the top sectors that stand to benefit from AR, now more than ever.
With web-based AR, car brands and dealerships can bring immersive showroom like experience to their websites. In turn, prospective car buyers can visit the brand website or app to:
📌 Place a model they like on their own driveway and view and examine it from every angle
📌 Walk around the car, open the door and peek inside it like they would at a store
📌 Virtually test-drive cars from the comforts of their home
📌 Check out the features of the different parts that make up the model
In essence, 3D and AR offers a convincing try-before-you-buy online experience to automobile shoppers.
The best part?
Augmented reality is not new to the car buying experience by any means. In fact, top auto brands have already adopted and validated the importance of the technology:
- Jaguar Land Rover lets online shoppers virtually test drive the Velar vehicle. The interactive shopping experience even lets customers click on different parts to get more information about any particular feature.
- Car parts supplier, Delphi leverages augmented reality to help customers find and identify the different products and parts available for their car.
- BMW also released the BMW iVisualiser which aims to revolutionize the car-buying experience with augmented reality. The app brings a virtual car dealership to customers and helps them make purchase decisions by interacting with a full-size virtual model of a vehicle. Not only can customers change the color and features of the virtual vehicle, but they can also turn on lights and the radio and more.
How Can Auto Brands Create 3D and AR-enabled Digital Showrooms?
Right now there are a number of flagship ways to go about it: from hiring AR developers who can build on Apple’s ARKit and Android’s ARCore to hiring a team of 3D modelling experts. That said, these in-house methods are cost-heavy and not to mention time-consuming due to the amount of development involved.
There’s yet another tried-and-tested industry standard: using a ready-to-use web-based 3D and AR (XR) platform, which brings us to Designhubz.
By leveraging the Designhubz XR suite, automobile brands can deliver immersive in-showroom-like shopping experiences on their websites and apps, right off the bat. Where converting physical inventory into 3D and AR assets typically takes weeks or months, our digitization process can convert your entire inventory in a matter of days.
Go ahead, interact with this Mercedes Benz model, created with the Designhubz suite
With us on your side, influencing purchase decisions with rich, interactive car visualizations is just one click away.
Determined to help retail brands navigate these challenging times, we are giving away a completely free, no strings attached 30-day trial of the entire Designhubz XR suite.
What’s next for the automobile industry?
With more consumer behaviour signals emerging by the day, one can expect to see more automobile brands leveraging innovative technologies. As pointed out by industry experts, the changes in buying preferences are here to stay even in a post-Covid19 era.
Brands that can ride on the wave and deliver digital showrooms coupled with online processes instead of actual physical interactions will stand to win, even in these tough times.
The demand is already there, now the ball is in your court.