Car shopping has become an online experience. More shoppers are comfortable doing their early research online, and, for many, this could save time. Online browsing also is convenient; there are no trips to a dealership.
Instead, shoppers can simply visit a website and search info about different models at their convenience…and then make that dealership trip. Kelley Blue Book noted that during Covid online tools helped internet savvy buyers cut down their time at the dealership to a few short hours.
But beyond virtual showrooms or slide shows of inventory models, shoppers also may be using a virtual car modifier to build their new vehicles before that dealership visit. What is a virtual car modifier? Here’s what buyers need to know about this cool tool…and how to use it!
Virtual Car Modifiers: No Headset Required
Shoppers who don’t own a virtual reality headset, take a deep breath…this tool can be used without entering the actual virtual space. The term virtual is sometimes used loosely to refer to experiences that take place online instead of in-person. Shoppers don’t need to purchase a headset or any special equipment. And these experiences are typically free!
Virtual car modifiers can be found on major vehicle manufacturer’s websites. Toyota, General Motors brands, Subaru, Nissan, Honda and probably many others offer ‘build your own’ experiences or car configurator tools.
Each model offered by the brand may allow different options for building or configuring a vehicle. Some may let the user select the Powertrain, paint color and any add-ons. Shoppers who are researching different vehicles might check out these experiences and look at the different options.
In addition, some luxury auto brands might offer buyers a completely customizable car experience. Maybe shoppers can choose or customize every detail of their car and add unique features. Rolls Royce offers Starlight Headlining, which allows buyers to customize a celestial design on the roof created with fiber-optic lighting.
Virtual Car Modifier Showroom
Those looking for a new car and using online tools to research their options also can use a virtual car modifier showroom. This is a tool that is fully interactive. While configurator or ‘build your own’ tools might show a photo of the car, the virtual showroom lets users explore the car virtually. So how does this work?
RelayCars provides an online virtual showroom that allows users to interact with the car in unique ways.
Using RelayCars, users will be presented with options of the site’s vehicle inventory.
Visitors choose the vehicle they want to explore and also select the trim and year, too. The visitor will then be free to explore their vehicle in the virtual showroom. No special equipment is required to view the vehicles, although RelayCars does recommend a high-speed internet connection for the best viewing experience.
In the showroom, visitors can use their mouse or their fingers (if accessing the site on a tablet or phone) to view the car from different angles. Visitors also can see inside the vehicle and navigate to view different aspects of the interior, too.
For every vehicle model, users can select different paint hues (depending on which paint options are offered for that particular model). This option can help find the perfect shade for a new car!
Why Shoppers Should Use a Virtual Car Modifier
So what’s beneficial about a virtual car modifier? Online tools like virtual car modifiers can help create a more relaxed shopping experience. Car shopping has evolved greatly through the years, and the pandemic forced the industry to, hopefully, create more online-friendly shopping experiences. While not all shoppers want to buy a car online, for some this is now a viable option.
Shoppers might use online tools to decrease the time they have to spend at a dealership. Virtual car modifiers and virtual showrooms both allow shoppers to explore their options without leaving home. With a car modifier, shoppers can virtually build their car. They can then save this data or maybe even print it out to take to the dealership. Car configurers might not always show the finished car in picture form but they will let shoppers build their own vehicle.
Virtual showrooms also can be useful for shoppers to explore and maybe even compare different vehicle options. For example, RelayCars can be opened in two different web browser pages and the user can choose to preview a different vehicle on each page. In this way they may be able to compare and contrast different models.
Even shoppers who aren’t serious in their hunt quite yet can take advantage of virtual showrooms. These tools can be fun to use to just explore different models and see all the options available. Looking at different brands and the models they offer can be a great way to gain more information about the choices available.
After viewing different models and checking out their different features, shoppers can then start researching prices of their favorite models. For shoppers who love a particular model, online configurators also might let them tweak different options to fit their budget. This might mean removing leather upgrades or other features that were optional.
Online tools provide power to the buyer. And prior to the digital revolution—and maybe even the pandemic—these tools were not always available. Buying a car once meant spending hours at a dealership or even traveling to multiple dealerships to find the best price or the right car.
Even the hunt for a vehicle can be narrowed down on dealership websites. Site visitors can search for particular models or see if older models are in stock. Pre-owned inventory also could be viewable online. And customer service reps can usually be messaged on the website, too.
Navigating Online For Digital Shy Consumers
Some car shoppers might not be completely comfortable searching online or navigating the virtual tools. Not everyone loves technology, and some may be intimidated by tech tools and online resources. The good news, though, is that car brands make their configurator tools extremely easy to navigate. The tools tend to walk the customer through the experience.
RelayCars also is incredibly easy to navigate. All users have to do is select the car they want to view. In the showroom, visitors can either explore using their fingertips or the computer mouse. The showroom also includes options to view the interior or change the vehicle’s color. There are no apps to download.
For digital shy consumers, taking advantage of online customer service reps also might be a good idea. While they may be there for sales questions, they also could help answer any tech questions, too. It never hurts to ask!
Buying a car online was a trend during the pandemic. And dealerships might still offer this as an option to customers. There are other sites online where deals may take place virtually and the car is delivered to the home.
Many shoppers, though, might still want to negotiate in person. Or finalize the deal and the details of their vehicle in person, too. Buyers also might want to visit the dealership to sit in the car or experience specific features firsthand. While virtual test drives could still be an option, some buyers might simply want to take that test drive at the physical dealership.
The future of car shopping might include savvier virtual car modifier tools. There may be options to configure the car in a virtual realm and maybe shoppers can build the car before their eyes. Perhaps car buying becomes interactive in the virtual sense. Maybe buyers see the car model in front of them and can choose the paint color, interior color and type and other features as well.
In the future, online tools for car shoppers could become high tech and completely interactive. Unless, of course, the self-driving car takes over. Then the car buying experience could be something else entirely! Maybe buyers pick out their virtual driver! Maybe buyers choose an avatar design or a unique voice. Plus all the details about their car. Or maybe the car becomes more like a comfortable entertainment area that buyers can customize to fit their needs.
For now, though, online tools like virtual showrooms and car modifiers and car configure tools are the interactive answer to simplifying the shopping process. And those who want to take their time to look for and create the perfect car can do so online.