ŠKODA - ŠKODA Live Tour
Digital Experience Manager
The ŠKODA Live Tour is a digital car showroom that can be instantly accessed by laptop, tablet or smartphone by our customers. It is a pioneering project for the automotive industry that will transform how consumers interact with ŠKODA and purchase cars.
The Live Tour brings the human touch to a digital world. Through the use of live video streaming, the customer is instantly connected to the Live Tour showroom and a Product Host who uses a mix of smartphone camera and static cameras to showcase our cars in high definition detail. They can present the exterior and interior of the vehicle, demonstrate features of the car, and answer questions around functions such as the infotainment-system and ŠKODA Care Connect. If a customer wants to know what 1,900 litres of boot space actually looks like, then the Product Host can simply show them the interior, and even has suitcase props on hand to show how it looks when loaded up. The Product Host can also help the customer configure their chosen car specification online and organise a test drive at their local retailer.
What was the in-market status quo before the proposition was created?
Consumer attitudes are changing, with more and more people turning to the internet to purchase or help make more informed decisions. The Live Tour taps into the consumer demand for convenience, quick responses and a personalised shopping experience by allowing people to research their next car purchase on the move – at a time and place that suits them.
ŠKODA undertook extensive customer research not only in the UK but as part of ŠKODA worldwide to develop the Live Tour concept. This involved direct customer feedback from international markets as well as exploring retail trends across different industries, not just automotive, to produce a digital concept that would work well alongside our extensive retail network in the UK.
The Live Tour is operational beyond the time of traditional retailers, from 10.30am to 9.30pm including weekends (11.00am to 7.00pm), so that customers have the opportunity to browse the showroom after work and with other decision makers in the household. It is also an advantage to people with poor mobility, who have limited ability to visit retailers in person. Our findings so far show that over 35% of tours take place outside of retailer operating hours (6pm onwards).
What challenges were you facing as a business?
Automotive technology is continually progressing and it’s important that we keep pace in the retail sector. ŠKODA’s award-winning cars are at the forefront of design, technology and performance, however, the main challenge with the introduction of the Live Tour was to meet the changing needs of customers in the digital age, and for the concept to work in tandem with the retailer network.
The Live Tour overcomes the barrier of a time-poor consumer. Operating outside of retailer working hours, Product Hosts can demonstrate cars in real-time and help people who find the purchase process daunting. The Product Host is able to take them through a 360 degree tour of the vehicle and can help configure their chosen model online and put them in touch with a local ŠKODA retailer for a test drive.
A fundamental challenge to any business is attracting new customers. ŠKODA has a loyal customer base, with more people returning to the brand than any other manufacturer, therefore the Live Tour will be a tool to introduce new customers to ŠKODA and our products thanks to its easy to access digital platform.
What impact has the proposition had?
The Live Tour is a first for the UK automotive industry, which launched in spring 2017. To date the digital showroom has had over 1,400 interactions, with 52% of customers successfully taking the next step with their local retailer through test drive or purchase.
There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from customers who have used the Live Tour to research and buy their next car; our research shows it scores highly for efficiency, promptness and politeness. It is generating valuable insight into customer behaviour and buying habits that can be used to further refine the concept over the next few months. We are also tracking frequent questions and topics discussed in the online showroom to enhance our online product information at www.skoda.co.uk.
The Live Tour complements the brand’s Digital strategy by offering customers a new and exciting way to learn about our cars. Recently, a ‘one-to-many’ format has been trialled, which gives multiple customers the opportunity to join a tour at one time and ask questions to the host via a chat box.
Taking Live Tour one step further, ŠKODA will use the digital showroom as a platform to showcase new vehicles before they arrive in our retailers, so that customers can get an exclusive look and feel for new models before they decide to buy.