How Can UK Car Dealerships Utilize Virtual Reality for Remote Vehicle Showcasing?

April 9, 2024

The use of virtual and augmented reality in the automotive industry is no longer a thing of the future. It’s happening now. You, as business owners and marketers, need to understand how this technology can revolutionize your car dealership. Let’s explore how virtual and augmented reality can virtually transport your customers into the driver’s seat, provide in-depth vehicle information, and ultimately, boost your sales without the customers leaving their home.

Using Virtual Reality to Enhance the Buying Experience

The first point of contact customers have with a vehicle is often the showroom. However, with the world moving towards the digital, customers expect more. They’re looking for immersive, personalized experiences that provide convenience at their fingertips.

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Enter virtual reality (VR).

VR can transport your customers into a simulated showroom, providing them a 360-degree view of your vehicles. They can ‘walk’ around the vehicle, open doors, get into the driver’s seat, and even start the engine – all from the comfort of their home. The experience becomes even more immersive with the addition of haptic feedback technology, allowing customers to ‘feel’ the texture of the seat fabric or the grip of the steering wheel.

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Moreover, VR can offer a test-drive experience. The customers can drive the vehicle on a virtual road, experience its handling, acceleration, and braking. This gives them a real sense of what owning and driving that vehicle would feel like, making them more likely to make a purchase.

Augmented Reality for In-Depth Vehicle Information

While VR provides an immersive experience, augmented reality (AR) offers in-depth information about the cars.

Using AR apps on their smartphones or tablets, customers can point the device at the car (real or virtual) to get detailed information. This could include specifications such as engine power, fuel efficiency, and safety features, to more visuals like color options, interior design, and even potential customization.

AR can also visualize data in an engaging way. For example, it can demonstrate how the car’s safety features work in real-time, such as how the airbags deploy in a crash. This not only educates the customers about the vehicle, but also instills confidence in your brand.

Training Employees Using Virtual and Augmented Reality

Aside from enhancing the customer experience, virtual and augmented reality can also play a vital role in training your employees.

For instance, mechanics can use AR to get a step-by-step guide on repairing certain car parts. They can view the internal components of the vehicle, understand how they work, and even practice repairing them in a virtual environment before working on actual cars.

Similarly, sales teams can use VR for product knowledge and sales training. They can explore the vehicles in a virtual showroom, learning about their features and benefits. This will help them provide accurate and comprehensive information to the customers, increasing their chances of closing the deal.

Virtual Reality in Marketing and Advertising

Virtual and augmented reality don’t just enhance the buying experience – they also offer innovative ways to market and advertise your vehicles.

For example, you can create immersive VR ads that put viewers in the driver’s seat, experiencing a thrilling race or a serene countryside drive. You can also use AR to bring print ads to life, where customers can scan the ad with their smartphone to see the car in 3D, explore its features, or even book a test drive.

Additionally, VR and AR can create memorable events. You can launch new vehicles in a virtual event, where attendees can explore the vehicle, watch it in action, and even interact with it. This not only engages the attendees but also generates buzz in the market.

The Future of Automotive Sales

While the use of virtual and augmented reality in the automotive industry is still in its nascent stages, it’s poised to become mainstream in the coming years. The global VR and AR market is expected to reach $296.9 billion by 2024, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets™.

The integration of VR and AR into your dealership can provide a competitive edge, attract tech-savvy customers, and modernize the car buying experience. You can leverage these technologies to not only enhance the buying experience but also to train employees, market your vehicles, and ultimately, boost sales.

Remember, the future of automotive sales is digital, immersive, and personalized. And virtual and augmented reality are the keys to unlock it. So start planning your VR and AR strategies now, because the future of automotive sales is here.

Expanding Marketing Strategies Using Social Media Platforms and Virtual Reality

The social media platform has become a hub for businesses to reach and engage with their customers. Add to that the power of virtual reality, and the potential for a more connected relationship with customers becomes unlimited.

Suppose you’re launching a new car model. You can create an event on Facebook, invite people to attend the launch in real time within a virtual showroom. They can explore the vehicle, see its features in action, and even ask questions right then and there. You can also integrate AR into your Instagram stories or Snapchat filters, allowing followers to ‘see’ the car in their own environment.

It’s not just about showcasing vehicles, but also about creating compelling, interactive content to share on your social media platforms. Imagine a 360-degree video of a test drive experience or an AR filter that lets users virtually ‘sit’ inside your car. These can generate high levels of engagement, encourage sharing, and increase your brand visibility.

Furthermore, these technologies can also be utilized for after-sales services. For example, you can use AR to provide visual instructions on how to maintain or repair a vehicle, which can be easily accessed through social media or your website. This provides enhanced customer service, builds trust, and fosters long-term customer relationships.

By integrating virtual and augmented reality into your social media marketing strategies, you can create immersive, engaging content, widen your reach, and strengthen your brand’s online presence.

Embracing the Future of the Automotive Market with Connected Cars

Technology has transformed the automotive market, and it’s not just about VR and AR anymore. The rise of connected cars – vehicles equipped with internet accessibility, and often with wireless local area network (WLAN) – is changing how consumers interact with their cars.

These cars can communicate with their environment, providing real-time feedback to the driver, and can even be updated or repaired remotely. This opens up an entirely new avenue for VR and AR applications.

For example, AR can be used to provide real-time information on the car’s dash, such as navigation, traffic updates, or vehicle status. VR, on the other hand, can provide virtual showrooms for these connected cars, where customers can explore the cars’ connectivity features interactively.

Also, automotive OEMs can use VR and AR to provide technical assistance. Mechanics can use AR to understand the complex systems within these connected cars, while customer service representatives can use VR to guide customers through any issues they may be facing.

Connected cars and VR/AR technologies together can provide a holistic, immersive experience that caters to the modern, tech-savvy consumer.

Conclusion: Embracing the Reality of the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is about to take a high-speed journey into the future with the integration of virtual and augmented reality. These technologies offer game-changing opportunities for car dealerships, creating immersive, engaging experiences that go beyond the traditional boundaries of car shopping.

The ability to create virtual showrooms gives consumers the freedom to explore vehicles from the comfort of their own homes. AR provides the opportunity to understand vehicles in depth, while VR provides the sensation of a real-time driving experience.

Moreover, the integration of VR and AR technologies into social media marketing and connected cars paves the way for a new era in the automotive market.

The future of the automotive industry is here. It’s digital, immersive, personalized, and the key to unlocking it is by embracing the power of virtual reality and augmented reality. Now is the time to plan your VR and AR strategies, and prepare to drive your dealership into the future.