Fiat in Brazil has recently launched an innovative digital retail showroom Fiat Live Store, created in conjunction with Brazilian firm Agência Click Isobar. The site allows customers to have a one-on-one virtual tour of their selected car model in a showroom studio. Salespeople wear special headsets featuring high resolution cameras and a microphone to interact with buyers and give customers an in car feeling.The headset has been custom built and is a first generation device. I'd expect that it will reduce in size over time - think a Google glass led sales experience.
One of the key points of difference is the notion of the virtual showroom - the tool uses real cars, not rendered products, allowing customers to view the actual products themselves. The experience allows for answering specific technical questions and viewing customised configurations as well as just 'tyre kicking'.
The aim of the service is to shorten the purchasing consideration process and help people determine which model suits them, before visiting the showroom in person. The strategy makes sense with research indicating that around 80% of customers go online before heading to the point of sale - if you're not attracting customers with an immersive online experience, you won't get them to your stores.
The live store aligns with generational trends towards customer's pre-shopping habits and being empowered to know more than the salesperson.
The concept has been well received, it has recently won a Bronze Lion in the Media category at Cannes and a Lion in the Innovation category. The project to date has delivered 465,000 unique visitors and prompted 67% of users to book test drives (surely some great warm leads!)
Check it out at http://livestore.fiat.com.br (in Portuguese)
How could this be adopted in other sales lead verticals? Virtual walk throughs for realestate? One-on-one viewings of luxury items? Let me know your thoughts.