For a lot people, the experience of driving a car is more than just a means to getting from point A to B. It's about the thrill of speed, power, security, or status. The type of car people decide on varies immensely on their social and economical situation. But ultimately, a car is a place of experiences; whether it's a road trip with friends, a family vacation or that little alone time you have between home and work. ¨People make a purchase decision based on the feeling and lifestyle that manufacturer can provide them.
But why is the purchasing process so painful?
For anyone who's been through this process, you know the drill. You enter a glass portal and even before you get a 20 second glimpse of the offering, you are greeted by a suit. That suit will guide you to what he thinks should be your choice, buy asking 3 questions, judge how you're dressed and how you've entered the premises (alone, wife, kids) and adjust his pitch accordingly. Then the following steps happen:
1. Regardless of what you had in mind, he will steer you towards a promotion or a car he's getting high commission on.
2. He'll have you sit in the car and let you have a quick feel, before asking you to take 'er for a spin.
3. While you're driving, instead of letting you enjoy an experience that you'll have for the next 4 years, he starts popping jokes and tries to find out more about your purchasing intent and pain points.
4. Ok, you're back in the dealership. It's time to crunch some numbers right?
5. There's a back and forth game between the sales rep and his manager, the mysterious person sitting in an office somewhere in the corner.
Conclusion: This process is excruciating. It's stressful and you always feel screwed. It's the same used car salesman persona you're already accustomed to when you purchased your house or condo, you last suit or your appliances. So why can't we enjoy our car purchasing experience as much as we enjoy our car?
A good friend once asked me: What is your favourite purchasing/retail experience? I laughed sarcastically. Then i said Apple. He asked why?
1. There are no suits or direct sales people at Apple. There are just relatively knowledgeable "technicians" that will listen to what i'm looking for (matching a lifestyle) and with my budget and needs (the right tool). I can explore freely and try out products.
2. I am not harassed by salesman. Actually, it's the opposite; I have to book an appointment online to see them. In exchange, i get 1 on 1 attention for all my needs and questions (I stayed once for 2 hours and never felt pressured)
3. There is no moment to lose me or give me the opportunity to hesitate. They know their stuff, have fixed pricing and can process the transaction without going through a register; it's on them. And then they hand me the product in beautiful packaging.
What applications could this possibly have in the car industry?
Welcome to CAR e-x-p, a more democratic experience to car purchasing
The interested customer checks-in. People with appointments are allocated a technical specialist. They are pre-screened on several questions related to their lifestyle and what they are look for. They are also prompted to scan their driver's licence, enabling them to test drive a car if they chose to later, avoiding a later interruption to do so.
2. Discovering the model of your choice
Based on their pre-screening, customers have product suggested to them and they can freely access the portals leading to the discover of those particular models. Throughout the discovery, there are deliberate "peak holes" and communication between the portals, allowing the customers to change their minds.
Entering the different segment portals
Each portal is designed to match the lifestyle associated with each particular model. Every individual path will focus on the key features that the particular model offers and the experience the customer will have once they drive away with the car.
3. How it's made
A museum-like experience that has a dual function.
Firstly it exposes what make that brand unique; the service department - where you will service the car for several years to come, becomes apparent, instead of being hidden in the back. Also, the opportunity to tell the story of where the company had allocated resources and research to make driving their car the best.
Secondly, this space acts as the communicator between the different segment's portals.
instead of having the opportunity for hesitation and uncertainty, we create a streamlined experience. Instead of waiting for the salesman to fetch out an available demo model in a vast parking lot, there are a couple of cars already waiting outside each segments exclusive area.
5. Personalize and Check-Out
People should be able to feel what their future car will be like. But it is difficult to imagine your car's interior with 1x1 inch sample size or seeing car options listed on paper. There have been some concepts coming out like Audi City. Interactive, full room touch screens definitely offer some interesting visual and sensorial experiences, but can you really feel the engine roar? Can you actually see and feel the interiors?
We propose a car (flight) simulator approach, where the customer can try their purchase, removing all uncertainty and checking-out when their decision is made.
- Engine types: being able to feel the power just from pressing on the accelerator
- Highly digitized: With he click of a button, the customer can experience the different packages the car is available in
- Transparency in pricing: Seeing the price increase or decrease according to the options they chose
- Real-time discounts and pricing: Removing the "used car symptom". Branch manager apply their final price as the customer is making his final selection.
Copyright 2014 incubius