3D car configurator to change car dealerships

The 3D revolution in car retail has just started thanks to the next generation 3D car configurator solution, provided by IBM and ZeroLight.

Frost and Sullivan has researched the future of automotive retailing for the past few years and has produced a White Paper which focuses on this new platform because of the way it allows customers to see, feel and take a virtual test drive of a car at the touch of a button.

Customers can open the doors, boot, and bonnet, for example, as well as activate features such as turning on the headlights, starting the engine, and taking a virtual test drive. This virtual test drive can be taken to a new level of personalization by allowing the customer to select from a range of environments in which to see the car drive (such as virtually parking a city car in an urban environment or driving an SUV up a mountainside). Customers can even take control of the camera to experience the drive from different vantage points (e.g. the driver’s, passengers, or rear seats as well as an external view) and continue to customize the virtual car while it drives.

Frost and Sullivan research indicates that in 2016 alone, OEMs will invest up to $5 billion in digitalization and unveil over 100 digital show rooms across the globe. In addition to the financial investment in digitalization, a trend of ‘floor space’ investment is also taking place. Existing showrooms are expected to dedicate between 20-30 percent of floor space to digital technology by 2016, instead of physical car displays. This is on top of the trend toward smaller stores and an expected reduction of 15-20 percent total showroom floor space by 2020.

‘The technology now exists to overcome automotive retail barriers and transform automotive retail as the world knows it today. The next generation 3D car configurator solution provided by IBM and ZeroLight, delivers an experience so ‘real’ that time-poor, urban-based customers no longer need to travel to an out-of-town car dealership, and those who do visit a physical store will have a completely new and exciting retail experience,’ said Frost & Sullivan consultant Catherine Hutt who produced the paper.

‘By zooming in on minute details like the stitching, by opening the doors and boot, by turning on and hearing the roar of the engine, and by letting the customer take a virtual test drive in a setting of their choice, this configurator brings the car (and the car buying experience) to life – virtually.’

Car makers and dealers recognize that there will be tremendous disruption in the retail process over the next 10 years and are embracing the retail revolution by considering the cost of technology as an investment, not as an expense.

IBM and ZeroLight have joined forces to offer a one-stop shop, omnichannel car configurator solution for OEMs aiming to embrace retail digitalization. According to Frost & Sullivan, this collaboration brings together a unique combination of skill-sets to satisfy the customer and the OEM:

  •        ZeroLight’s 3D car configurator technology, anchored in 27 years’ experience and £30 million investment, which saw it become the market leader in car gaming technology, surprises and delights the customer with advanced and interactive visual features to personalize the customer journey and capture valuable customer data.
  •        IBM brings its global network and IT implementation expertise to complement the cutting-edge technology with tried-and-tested implementation methods and data analytics which improves new product development and lead generation as well as providing a platform to shift retail strategy online.

The crucial difference between the IBM/ZeroLight solution and traditional configurators is first, the 3D versus 2D factor and second, the fact that car models, options and information available to the customer can be updated across the globe from the cloud.