In the past, the average consumer’s car buying journey began in an auto showroom. This is where consumers would explore vehicles, compare models, take test drives, narrow down their options, and make purchase decisions. But times have changed–and so has the consumer car buying journey.
The vast majority of consumers begin their car buying journey online rather than inside a showroom. They no longer need to visit a showroom to research their options. Instead, today’s consumers spend an average of 14 hours conducting online research in the early stages of their car buying journey.
Because so much of the car buying journey has shifted online, many automotive dealers now offer virtual auto showroom tours for online consumers. Automotive consumers can use their smartphone, tablet, or computer to step inside a virtual showroom. Then, they can examine the exterior and interior of cars and learn about different models just like they would if they were in a real showroom. The showrooms are powered by either virtual or augmented reality technology, so consumers will feel like they are actually looking at the vehicles in real life.
If you’re in the auto industry, you may be wondering whether you need to invest in a virtual auto showroom. Building a virtual auto showroom to showcase your inventory can benefit both your business and your customers. Here’s how:
Reduces Time At Dealership
The amount of time an automotive consumer spends at a dealership can have a direct impact on how satisfied they are with the car buying process. In fact, research reveals that the less time the consumer spent at the dealership, the more satisfied they were with the car buying process as a whole.
Right now, the average automotive consumer spends around three hours at the dealership when buying a car. However, their satisfaction starts to decline after about 90 minutes. If you want to increase customer satisfaction at your dealership, it’s important to reduce the amount of time that it takes for consumers to buy a car. To do this, start by building a virtual auto showroom.
Allowing consumers to visit a virtual auto showroom can drastically reduce the amount of time they spend in your dealership. Inside a virtual auto showroom, consumers can get all of the information they need to compare their options and make a final purchase decision.
Automotive consumers who use virtual showrooms may not need to visit a dealership until they know which vehicle they want and are ready to purchase it. They won’t need to talk to sales representatives, take test drives, or tour the showroom floor once they go to a dealer.
This could benefit both consumers and dealers. It benefits the consumers by saving them hours of time once they arrive at the dealership. But it also benefits the dealer by increasing customer satisfaction.
Lowers Operating Costs
Adding a virtual auto showroom to your website may require an initial investment, but it can actually save auto dealers money over time.
Each auto showroom may house dozens of different vehicles. Auto dealers are responsible for covering the costs of transporting these vehicles to their showrooms. Once the vehicles arrive, auto dealers must pay to maintain them. Maintenance costs can add up quickly. This is because every vehicle may require a great deal of maintenance to ensure they are in pristine condition when customers arrive.
Furthermore, auto dealers need to pay for a property that is large enough to showcase all of these different vehicles. The larger the space, the more it will cost to rent or own.
These costs can cripple small auto dealers. But now, auto dealers of all sizes can lower operating costs by investing in a virtual auto showroom.
Auto dealers that offer virtual showrooms won’t need to keep as many vehicles on-site in their showrooms. Instead, they can invite consumers to explore their inventory online using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Reducing the number of vehicles kept on-site can save auto dealers thousands of dollars in transportation, maintenance, and other showroom operating expenses.
Broadens Customer Base
The automotive industry is incredibly competitive. Some areas have dozens of auto dealers that are all competing for the same small group of consumers. However, a virtual auto showroom will allow auto dealers to broaden their customer base by connecting with consumers located outside of their community.
Automotive consumers can tour a virtual showroom even if they live hundreds of miles away from the dealership. If they find a vehicle they like, they can contact the dealer to purchase the vehicle online or over the phone so they don’t need to waste time traveling to the showroom.
Being able to connect with a larger customer base can help dealers increase sales and move inventory off of the lot more quickly.
Gives Customers What They Want
As an auto dealer, you should always be on the lookout for new ways to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. One way to do this is by offering a virtual auto showroom.
Automotive consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of shopping for a car online. Sixty-three percent of automotive consumers said they would consider buying their next vehicle online. Sixty-six percent of these consumers said they would be comfortable exploring different vehicles online rather than in person in a showroom. If you aren’t offering these consumers the opportunity to visit a virtual showroom, you aren’t giving them what they want. As a result, you could miss out on the opportunity to convert them into loyal customers.
Creates A Better Shopping Experience for Consumers
If a potential customer wants to visit your showroom in person, they may need to rearrange their schedule in order to make it to your dealership during normal business hours. But visiting a virtual auto showroom is far more convenient.
Your customers won’t need to wait until your dealership is open, call to make an appointment, or waste their time driving across town to visit a virtual auto showroom. They can access your virtual auto showroom from their smartphone, tablet, or computer at any time from any location. This allows consumers to start the car buying process whenever it is most convenient for them. They no longer need to work around your showroom’s schedule.
The experience might be more enjoyable, too. Some automotive consumers don’t like visiting showrooms because they feel pressured by sales representatives who are eager to sell as many vehicles as possible. These aggressive sales tactics may force customers to make hasty decisions that they later regret. However, this isn’t an issue inside a virtual showroom.
In a virtual showroom, consumers won’t have to deal with pushy sales representatives breathing down their neck. They can take their time exploring different models without feeling pressured to make a decision or purchase a vehicle. There’s no limit on how many vehicles they can look at, so they can spend as much time as they would like learning about their options.
Provides A Competitive Advantage
Having a virtual auto showroom also gives dealers a competitive advantage. If you are the only dealer in your area with a virtual auto showroom, automotive consumers who want to start the car buying process online may choose your dealership just so they can take advantage of this convenient tool. This may help you attract customers you otherwise would have lost to your competitors.