How Augmented Reality is Reshaping Car Retail

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With augmented reality (AR) technology, a 360-degree image of a car can be overlaid onto a physical environment. For example, you can check if the car you want to buy fits in your driveway. The tech allows you to feel the car, check out the exterior and interior, and even scrutinize its features. It offers a test-drive experience to prospective car buyers.

In this e-commerce age, AR has been a game-changer in the car retail business. Dealerships are incorporating it into their websites to offer buyers a better experience. And with 67% of car buyers making a purchase decision based on online information, AR will reshape the car retail industry in several ways.

  1. Better Customer Education

Augmented reality is enhancing customer education by putting information in a real environment context. Customer education is important, especially when it comes to technical things that are not easy to understand. For instance, Hyundai’s AR app that runs on iPads helps customers to fully understand the features of the i30 hatchback, something a video or a written review wouldn’t do.

With AR, a customer can scan a car on the road, and the system displays its technical details. The customer can change the car's virtual details, such as color, interior designs, and other fittings. That way, the customer gets enough information to make an informed purchase decision.

For example, Jaguar Land Rover uses AR to let customers take a virtual test drive in the Velar vehicle. Augmented reality lets the customer feel the car’s interiors, and an interactive panel gives the technical details of any part.

  1. Improving Product Experience

AR product visualization offers the customer the “try before you buy” experience. It gives car retailers a powerful way to showcase their inventory. They can explicitly show the cars’ specifications and configurations. Augmented reality also allows the customers to personally inspect a car and virtually check if it can fit in their driveway. 

These capabilities of AR go a long way in improving the customer experience. Apple’s ARKit, a configurator app, allows people to place 3D models of Audi cars in a real-world environment—giving them a real-world visual experience of the car.

  1. Driving Sales

AR's main aim is to give the customer enough information to make a purchase decision. It's making the car retail business focus more on the customer than the product.

Augmented reality is also helping car dealers adapt to shifting customer behavior and expectations. More car retailers are creating online showrooms to drive online sales. The digital showrooms reach more customers because people no longer have to visit dealerships physically to see the latest offerings. A good example is this augmented reality driving app by Relay Cars.

Augmented reality has a lot of potential and is reshaping the car retail business. And as many automotive experts project, it will soon be the norm in the car retail industry. Companies such as Jaguar Land Rover have an AR app for their Range Rover Velar USV, and more AR applications are expected in the near future.

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