Virtual reality has become a hot topic this year and as we have seen many brands taking their first steps into this new development. As a result, it is expected that this could lead to a big transformation in shopping experiences. So we at AutoScout24 Netherlands have been questioning ourselves: “How will VR influence the consumer in looking for and choosing their dream car?” We´re convinced that in the online orientation process we will definitely see a shift from the use of traditional photo and video of today towards the offer of a VR experience. Just simply imagine finding your dream car online and take up your VR glasses to walk around it to check it out.
But what about taking it even further? Will there be a time that people take test drives in VR? Off course this is just guessing but the Dutch marketing team of AS24 took the new branding strategy, where we identify three types of decision makers, as an opportunity to introduce the test drive into a virtual reality world.
The big idea was to provide our customers (i.e. car dealers) with a glimpse into how the consumer experiences a test drive. We know that each consumer is unique, but surely we can identify similarities in their behaviour and thinking during their customer journey. Jurgen Vugts, managing director AS24 Netherlands, explaines: “In our brand positioning we focus on all types of decision makers to succesfully buy or sell a car. The positioning is based on the analysis of AutoScout24’s users and their needs.”
We identified three types of consumer: the Car Fan, the Security Seeker and the Dealmaker. Where the Car Fan defines himself through his car, the Security Seeker’s main interest is the security of the transaction in every aspect and the Dealmaker weighs their success by the deal itself.
And this is how we do it: by using 8 GoPro cameras mounted on a frame and placed on the passenger seat we captured the fantasy of the different types of car buyers. In the base of each scripts we wanted to show potential car buyers taking a test drive starting at the car dealer. Once driving, their fantasy takes over, and they suddenly imagine all that can happen when they buy this car.
For instance, our Car Fan Boris, is a guy who is looking for the coolest car to emphasize his personality and probably also to show off to his friends. He has set his eye on a BMW and together with a friend he is taking a test drive, starting at a small car dealer in his neighbourhood. Boris is checking out the features of the car, and the viewer will find himself sitting in the passenger seat. He starts driving and then all of a sudden the environment is changing into a race circuit. He’s even wearing a professional racing suit and helmet.
Wouter and Maartje are looking for a car which gives security and comfort for the whole family. They are critically checking all details of the Mini Clubman before driving off for the test drive. After the flash forward suddenly the kids are also in the car sitting in the back seat. Their imagination takes them to the savanne of a wildlife zoo and they are literally surrounded by giraffes.
In the last video you drive along with Bert. He is really just looking for the best deal in his search for a car which can easily transport his mountain bike, cause that is what’s important to him. And this is exactly where his mind takes him during the test drive in the Peugeot. Driving up to the woods, he takes his bike from the trunk and he goes for the thrill of going down hill.
To introduce the videos to our customers we developed branded boxes with VR glasses which we sent out accompanied by an instruction on how to fold and use them. We also created a VR landing page where the different videos were embedded from YouTube. All the recipient needed was a smartphone and earbuds. They just had to go to the landing page using their mobile, choose a video and then place their mobile in the carton VR glasses.
So, going back to the question: “Will there be a time that potential car buyers will be taking VR test drives?” Jurgen is convinced: ‘Being the portal where we empower and support our users during the entire process of buying and selling, yes, there will be a time where a VR experience will be offered in the orientation process.”