Digital vehicle buying on an upswing: Buyers opt to configure car online than visiting store

The additional advantage is that one can scale up the visualisation in resolution and extend it to the retail world in the automotive industry, where it can be used on dealer screens or tablets.

By:Updated: Apr 01, 2021 4:03 PM

What all has the pandemic taught us? Well, we aren’t referring to washing hands with soap regularly, social distancing and the importance of Mother Nature. We are automotive people at heart and most of our stories or conversations revolve around them. So much so that friends and family with dissimilar interests tend to cut us out of a tete-a-tete. Now with everyone mostly at home at all times, something as emotional and economically draining as a car purchase can be done without even having to step out. Yes, digital car-buying or configuring has become the in-thing now. So much that showrooms are reporting a lower footfall yet higher sales than before. Last year, many car makers followed the principle of allowing customers to configure their car from home. Eccentric Engine, creator of One 3D platform that supports online car buying, spoke to us about the new trends they see and a lot more.

Before we get to the interesting trends, here is a bit of lowdown about Eccentric Engine. The company was founded by Gaurav Rane & Varun Shah in 2012 with the aim of leveraging Gaming Technology for effective Consumer Engagement. What started out with the gaming tech eventually proved quite useful in the pandemic. While the founders didn’t outright mention the OEMs they work with at present, a certain “desi” carmaker happens to be on the top of the list. The manufacturer has two different configurations for its elite products.

The founders say that

Eccentric Engine has a proprietary One 3D Platform with which we are democratising 3D Visualisation of vehicles. We help our auto OEM customers provide authentic product visualisation- on the internet, at their dealerships or any other relevant touchpoint. We simulate in the digital world, how one is likely to explore a physical car. This gives buyers the confidence to proceed with their purchase decision-making in absence of access to a physical vehicle. It helps end-user be assured of their purchase by visualising the entire range in 3D and letting them build their dream car. It helps OEMs overcome physical & spatial limitations and empowers them to sell anywhere. By the adoption of One 3D by OEMs we are partnering with them at customer touchpoint to offer immersive experiences through product feature demonstration, specification, accessory overlays, configuration and that has proven to accelerate both vehicle sales and accessory sales.

 

Well, we can’t agree more. The founders say that the additional advantage is that one can scale up the visualisation in resolution and extend it to the retail world in the automotive industry, where it can be used on dealer screens, tablets, and handsets of the sales task force and help enrich and accentuate the user shopping experience. The platform is integrated with websites and dealership systems of OEMs. Customers who access it will end up exploring the car digitally, online or at showrooms. Moreover, not only can the customers check different colours (something that a physical showroom might not have due to the space constraints), they can also accessorise the vehicle. The billing is done in a tamper-proof method and allows the customer to believe in the transparency adopted. Everything is on paper and that’s a good thing, eh!

If you think that this technology will work only in tier one and two cities, you are completely wrong. The founders assure us that it is an interesting trend that their research shows that ” The sheer interest and exploration by consumers from tier three towns and below is simply astounding. A buyer craves, even more, to explore the car digitally after visiting a showroom, as opposed to the belief that only initial vehicle exploration is digital.”

Last year, the company’s survey showed that in 70 per cent of the online sessions, Indians explored their next car on mobile phones while 25 per cent did so on desktops. Most of the Indian users researched online between 12pm- 4pm, with Wednesday being the most preferred day. Well, new car buyer, you better not let your boss read this

The survey further adds that perked by the festive season, such exploration also saw a jump during the months of November-December. Non-resident Indians are also influencing the buying decisions for their family by exploring Indian make cars digitally. In 2020, out of the total 4.6 per cent NRI sessions, 31 per cent were from North America, followed by Middle East (32 per cent), Europe (10 per cent), U.K.(5 per cent), Australia ( 4 per cent), Africa ( 2 per cent) and Latin America (1 per cent). Amongst the highly preferred colours, blue as well as white emerged on top. The eccentric shades like orange were only preferred by 15 per cent.

Nothing of this sort is highly practised in the two-wheeler world in India. The Eccentric Engine founders though are quite optimistic that it will start soon. On being asked if Tesla incoming will make any difference, the reply was

Tesla looks promising and has some interesting options that are distinct for the Indian market. As we continue to grow our automotive portfolio, it will certainly be an exciting opportunity to contribute to help them localise their digital selling experience.

Have you booked or are looking to book your next car digitally? Do let us know your experience!

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