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article imageNew technology is changing auto shoppers' experiences

By Ken Hanly     Sep 6, 2017 in Technology
The automotive sales industry is experiencing a change in the manner in which buyers are perceiving car ownership, use, and operation. Accompanying this are also changes in the way customers' purchasing experience is modified by new technology.
In earlier days the purchase of a car often began at a dealership after searching through the extensive automotive sections in a newspaper. Before there was much chance of comparing options the purchase was often determined by high pressure sales people providing information. Already technology has improved the chances of the consumer making a better buy by the presence of the Internet, websites, and online search capabilities. Websites such as TrueCar, Edmunds and numerous others make information readily available within seconds.
The new social media sites have made it much easier to receive opinions from friends and others about vehicles one is considering. Crowdtap polling found that 87 percent of respondents considered friend's comments when evaluating an auto.
Dealers too are employing new technology using video walls and tabletop touch screens to complement the physical shopping experience. Buyers can explore models before they take one for a test drive. Audi has actually developed a digital showroom that allows visitors to configure a life-sized virtual vehicle that uses a 3-D rendering technology. The appended video describes and shows the showroom. Soon you may be able to take models that interest one for a virtual test drive. A recent Forbes article notes: Virtual reality capabilities allow consumers to open doors, sneak a 360-degree peek inside and out, and even hear authentic sound effects of their potential new model. In response to consumer-driven expectations to research and buy online, companies are likely to begin selling cars and parts directly through their respective websites.
Consumers are already on their own changing the environment in which they shop for cars. 63 percent of those shopping for autos compare vehicles using mobile devices and 75 percent of shoppers would even consider buying entirely online. Dealers must provide a digital experience that allows vehicle comparison, payment details, and the possibility of purchase all online or they stand to lose business to competitors. As consumers do more research and comparisons online they may seek help from bots incorporating artificial intelligence. Carla designed by CarLABS is an example providing car-shopping advice to consumers but also dealers.
Another use of new technology that offers new selling points for cars is the ability of the car to connect to the many gadgets and applications that an owner already has such as a phone, tablet, usb stick, etc. Machine Research predicts that by 2020 90 percent of new cars will have a built-in connectivity platform. Some of these devices allow not only for entertainment but for information that can be used by repair shops to repairs vehicles. A recent article notes:
Connected vehicles that link to mobile devices, RFID readers on the road, traffic lights, and infrastructure provide the opportunity for improved navigation based on driving habits, traffic notifications, and alternate routes. General Motor’s OnStar system, for example, enables users to send an intended destination from their smartphone directly to the car’s navigation system. The connected cars can be tailored to deliver a personalized experience. Jaguar Land Rover has even introduced cars that learn the specific driving behaviors and preferences of their owners.
The bots that will help you through your research will soon seem more like humans as they become more capable of natural language processing (NLP). With the development of natural language capabilities and improved intelligence bots will sound like humans but with super-human research abilities. Gartner, a technology research firm predicts that by 2020, 85 percent of customer interactions will be managed without human intervention.
More about digital transformation, auto purchasing, connected cars
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