A new way of buying a car involving virtual reality has helped a New Zealand-based distributor see a huge boost in sales.
The technology utilising virtual reality has recently been introduced into car dealerships around New Zealand. Shoppers can wear a virtual reality headset and then visualise the proportions of new models before they have even arrived on NZ shores.
Steve Kenchington, GM of Jaguar Land Rover NZ says that the VR tech helps accommodate customers by educating them on a number of elements that are required to help them feel comfortable with a 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,” he says.
“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.”
In the past, buyers new to the brand have preferred to wait for a demonstration model to be available before committing to a purchase. Now they can see the physical dimensions of the vehicle
Kenchington says this creates more confidence around purchasing.
“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,” he says.
“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.”
Kenchington says the first two shipments of the new Land Rover Discovery have been sold before even reaching New Zealand.
“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.