VR technology helps produce 'millions' in sales
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A local automotive distributor says technology which demonstrates the features of a new vehicle has helped the company sell millions of dollars worth of SUVs - months before they arrive in the market.
The virtual reality technology recently introduced into car dealerships around New Zealand allows consumers to visualise the proportions of the new model by wearing a headset.
Steve Kenchington, NZ general manager of Jaguar Land Rover says there are a number of elements which are needed to educate a customer before than can feel comfortable with their purchase.
“Firstly the basic sales proposition must make sense to the buyer - they must weigh up the perceived value for money offered against their current needs.
“Then, there is an aesthetically driven, experiential factor - where the buyer interacts with the vehicle.
“To some degree, it helps that consumers are familiar with the brand; New Zealanders already own more Land Rover Discoveries per capita than virtually every other market outside of the UK,” he says.
Kenchington says that for buyers which are new to the brand, in the past these customers have waited until a demonstrator was available before making a purchase.
He says the new VR can provide an alternative way to learn the physical dimensions of the vehicle.
“These are premium vehicles which are high involvement purchases and buyers will often take weeks or months to make a choice which best matches their requirements."
“While there has sometimes been a historic reluctance to buy a vehicle off the brochure, we have found experiencing the model in virtual reality has helped inform the customer sufficiently, and they are able to make a decision without having to view the car in the showroom.”
“For our dealer network, this technology is helping to transform the way we sell cars - it helps us overcome the geographic barrier which prevents us from bringing in new models as quickly as other markets which are closer to the point of manufacture,” says Kenchington.
“Buyers can not only better understand the relative size of the vehicle but they can also customise it to their specifications - a process which in the past may have delayed the delivery of their new vehicle,” he says.
Kenchington says the first two shipments of the new Land Rover Discovery have been sold before they reach the country.
“Pre-sales for the new model opened around eight months before the first shipment is due to arrive here which means that those that are interested in the new model need to visit their retailer as soon as possible” he says.