Purchasing a car is becoming easier, too. The orientation towards the purchase of a car usually starts online and, on many websites, a potential customer simply puts together a car via an online car configurator. A fascinating online experience where everything can be found in one spot.

But how is that experience in the car dealership? Many car dealers face the challenge of giving customers a ‘wow’ factor when they visit showrooms. The car dealership is not just a point of sale anymore, but rather the place where you make a personal connection between brand and customer.

In this article I will give you fresh insights into the role of the car showroom in which information, inspiration and activation are integrated in a complete experience surrounding brand and product.

The various types of visitors

As car dealer you get various types of visitors in your car showroom. Of course, every visitor has different needs. In order to properly estimate what type of customer comes into your showroom, it is always good to define the different visitors. Their visits are naturally the highlights of your day, but let us have a look at how we can make this visit the most impressive moment of your visitor’s day. They will talk about this for years to come.

We can define the following visitors:

  • The walk-in
  • The “I know what I want” customer
  • The occasion customer
  • The service customer

The walk-in chooses a beautiful Saturday afternoon to visit various car dealers. A definitive choice of car is not in his head. The walk-in is looking for inspiration and the right feeling with a brand and model.

The ‘I know what I want’ customer has done a lot of online research. He has compiled his dream car online with the online car configurator. The IKWIW buyer makes an appointment and enters the car showroom the next day. This customer is already convinced of the brand but can still be influenced in the final choice of the car. This offers opportunities for upselling, which I will discuss further below.

The occasion customer can also be divided into these three groups. Many of these customers have already done their research and come for a specific model. Others walk in, sure that they want a car, but don’t know which one yet. I like to call the last group the wanderers. They stray to the occasion cars, as it were.

The service customer has made an appointment for a repair, a check or calamity. The service customer is already convinced of your brand, because he has already bought a car at your car dealership. But we can also further influence the service customer to maintain dealer preference.

Therefore, it is important to offer each type of customer the right experience, to ensure that everyone walks their own route through your showroom. Let me take you into a showroom that is equipped with technology and gives an extra experience to all parts of your showroom:

  • A warm welcome
  • The brand lounge
  • Interactive Car Studio
  • The service bar
  • Reveal room
  • A sensation for the occasions
  • Wait-alleviation for customers who are in the showroom a bit longer

1.   Warm welcome

Upon entering, every type of driver should be immersed in your brand immediately. The first pit stop is the reception desk. By adding a digital signage display to the reception desk, you have the opportunity to show a warm and personal welcome. It may be a place where people dwell a little shorter, but you can only make that first impression once. Add a personal message and your customer is guaranteed to have a WOW moment.

2.   Introduction to the brand

Led scherm wand

After a warm welcome, the walk-in is placed in the ‘brand lounge’. During the introduction, the walk-in is immersed in your brand. The latest models splash off the screen and raise the dopamine level of the walk-in. This is where the brand connection is made.

The ‘I know what I want’ buyer can also be immersed in your brand during his visit. When the customer waits quietly in the brand lounge, the sales agent picks up his phone, opens the app and activates – just at the right time – an inspiring video of the car model that the IKWIW buyer has in mind. Coincidence?

3.   Create your dream car

Assembling a car is an important part of their visit for both the walk-in and the IKWIW customer. Of course, you can sit at a table with the walk-in and the IKWIW customer, but what if you make it an interactive experience? With the use of audiovisual technology, you take this process to the highest level. Below, I give an interactive example called; Interactive Car Studio.

The IKWIW customer has used the online car configurator at home to customize a car and takes his choice to your car dealership. The customer brings his choice to life on a large screen at the Interactive Car Studio using the QR code. The Interactive Car Studio consists of 2 displays. One touch display incorporated in a table. And a slightly larger display perfectly at eye level.

The walk-in will encounter the Interactive Car Studio and most likely the online car configurator for the first time. The walk-in selects the desired model together with the dealer. Adjustments are made such as the color of the car and interior options. Next to the table, there are several samples to give the customer a feel for it. Afterwards, the customer sees the model in action via the promotional content of the brand. You can easily start this with one click on the touch table.

The Interactive Car Studio will certainly arouse some doubts in the occasion customer, but that is not a bad thing at all. If the Car Studio is available, it is good to go through these steps with the used car buyer. A brand connection is still made that offers opportunities in the long term when the customer is ready for a brand-new car.

scherm touch automotive

4.   Service bar

Financing, private lease & service, all extra services that you quickly discuss, but are really necessary. You can also tackle this in an interactive way using RFID technology. The technology is relatively simple (in fact, it is a chip that is read remotely), but it adds so much to the experience. I call this the Place & Learn technique. You put down something and you learn something. Items in the shape of the subject are placed on a platform and it activates the corresponding information on a display. Nice and sleek design and the information is easy for your customer to absorb.

Vergaderruimte met displayscherm

5. Reveal room

This is my personal favorite. Not for everyone nor for every brand, but still nice to share here. A ‘Reveal Experience’. A true revelation of the purchase. Imagine: the car is covered by a cloth. After one press of the button, music starts, a short light show happens, and then: the curtain rolls off the car. The lights dim and the car is illuminated perfectly. With a projector incorporated in the ceiling, a personal message shines on the hood: “Enjoy driving”. Your customers will enjoy this moment and so will you.

6. This one is for the occasions

In some cases, the ‘second-hand corner’ is not directly in sight of the customer but slightly further away, perhaps even outside. Let’s keep that experience going! When it comes to physical occasion models, not all options are shown in the car showroom. Logical, because in most cases it simply does not fit. That’s not a bad thing at all. I will show you a way in which we add an experience and show all occasions while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Think of a modern, high seat in front of a touch display with an impact-size display at eye level. Your (strayed) visitor can scroll alone – or with the seller – through the offer, apply filters and compare. Images from all angles are shown on the large display. In fact, they see the cars almost life-size. Is the customer really interested? Then they can go outside with the dealer to really experience the model.

Scherm in showroom

From strolling across a parking lot to a cup of coffee with an experience

Daan Geeven

7. Wait-alleviation system

In areas where customers have to wait a little longer for their car to be ready – such as the service customer – we soften the wait. You can opt for digital signage, for example. A way to show your customer a subtle mix of reading material; think of news and weather reports or messages from the dealer himself, such as ‘remember the tire change’.

Digitale schermen in wachtruimte