Cycle & Carriage has turned on the ignition for its Mercedes-Benz virtual showroom in Malaysia which aims to maintain high-touch retail engagement, where the online experience complements and enhances the physical retail experience. Simulating a physical showroom, consumers can virtually explore both the showroom and vehicles in what Cycle & Carriage describes to be "an immersive experience". Detailed information about each vehicles' specifications are also available and once customers have previewed each vehicle, they can place an appointment for a test drive.
CEO of Cycle & Carriage Bintang, Wilfrid Foo, told A+M that the virtual showroom took about six months to develop and was modelled after its Mutiara Damansara Autohaus, which carries the latest Mercedes-Benz brand identity. While Foo did not comment on A+M's query about the monetary investment for the virtual showroom, he said the investment for its latest initiative will continue and it aims to improve and bring more digital experiences to the virtual showroom. According to Foo, the virtual showroom was created in partnership with a Google Street View partner.
When asked what the company's idea of an immersive experience is, Foo explained that customers can have "an exceptional journey from the moment of interest, to researching the models they might be interested, to making an appointment for a test-drive and finally after-sales care". He told A+M that its latest virtual showroom comes in to aid in that experience so consumers are able view its vehicles from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Currently, the virtual showroom showcases a 360-degree VR experience without the need for additional hardware or software, Foo said. Users are able to explore both the exterior and interior of several models on display and according to Foo, this approach was taken so the virtual showroom can be widely accessible to consumers.
"As for AR, the technology is still in its infancy. Our customers' needs guide what we do and it is our priority to meet those needs. While AR and advanced VR technology is interesting to us, we will have to take things one step at a time in tandem with the changing needs of our consumers," he explained.
Foo added that the low-touch economy spurred by eCommerce marketplaces has propelled a need for the company to re-engineer its strategy in the luxury car segment. "While our physical retail experience will certainly be here to stay, complementing it with an immersive online experience and seamlessly incorporating both channels would make the purchasing journey better for our customers," he added. Foo also said that its new virtual showroom is "one of the many investments" it is making to nurture the overall customer experiences.
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