ZeroLight is launching Re:Connect, a package of three cloud-powered visualisation solutions - Reveal, Concierge, and Display - that will enable automotive OEMs and dealers to prosper both during and after the Covid-19 crisis. These solutions address the challenges caused by the current social-distancing measures by reconnecting brands with the media, dealers with their customers, and dealers with their cars.
"This is a clear demonstration of how cloud-based 3D visualisation can alleviate many of challenges facing the automotive industry. It offers a unique combination of scalability, interactivity, and agility that gives retailers the power to reconnect with their customers, both during and after social distancing."
Simon Robinson, Co-Founder of Foundry and Advisor to The Board of ZeroLight
The new solutions (Reveal, Concierge, and Display) address three important challenges facing the automotive industry that have been brought into sharper focus by the Covid-19 pandemic.
- How to launch a car without auto shows, press events, or photoshoots (Reveal)
- How to remotely establish a connection between dealers and customers (Concierge)
- How to share a dealership's stock cars with its customers (Display)
However, these concerns are not new or temporary. They have been steadily building for several years, but this progression has been accelerated by the current social-distancing restrictions. Re:Connect offers sustainable solutions that address the short-term challenges explained above and lay the foundations for solving the long-term shortfalls at their root. Each solution is outlined in detail below.
"Our Re:Connect set of solutions demonstrates how the power of ZeroLight's high-end cloud-based visualisation platform is transforming a traditional automotive industry shortfall into a future-proof retailing infrastructure."
Francois de Bodinat, Chief Product Officer, ZeroLight
Reveal reconnects brands with the media by enabling OEMs to launch a new vehicle or model line digitally, without requiring any physical photoshoots or events. It is a shared 1-to-many experience that uses high-end cloud-based visualisation to go beyond a real-world car launch by enabling journalists to interact with, explore, and even configure the car in stunning detail. Each delegate can independently interact with the car while the company presenter virtually guides them through its features and configuration options. At the end of the solution, each individual delegate will be able to download a PR pack of images and videos of the car in their preferred configuration. This pack uses templates set by the OEM, so all shots will be from preferred angles and positions.
While alternative remote solutions rely on conference calls or unengaging videos, Reveal enables delegates to enjoy a richer and more interactive experience with a digital car than they could with a real one. On top of addressing the current social-distancing challenges, Reveal also offers a long-term alternative to automotive tradeshows, which have been in decline for the past few years. Attendance at IAA, for example, was 550,000 in 2019, down from 810,000 in 2017 and 931,000 in 2015 (Motor1). As a result, many OEMs have already been searching for alternative digital-launch platforms, like the computer-game-based announcement for the 2018 BMW M5 (AutoWeek).
Concierge reconnects dealers with their customers via a shared, 1-to-1 configuration experience. It mirrors the intimate in-person sales experience by empowering dealers to remotely influence purchase decisions. Concierge reflects the different needs of the dealer and the customer. As they both access the same cloud-rendered 3D content, the customer can interact with and experience the car while the dealer configures it via a more detailed interface. At the end of the experience, the dealer is able to generate and send the customer a personalised digital brochure that features their exact configured car.
Unlike solutions that rely on screen sharing, Concierge offers dealers a unique opportunity to recreate the luxury in-dealership experience remotely with no lag or delay. The implications for this during social distancing are clear, but it will also have a considerable impact once these restrictions are lifted. Dealership visits per purchase have plummeted from 7 to 1.5 in 10 years (Telegraph), as customers spend more than 60% of their time online (Cox Auto). Concierge is an online tool via which dealers can engage these customers who can't or don't want to come into the dealership. In addition, it also lays the foundations for a seamless transition to online sales. This would be a welcome change for the 15% of under 30s who are "deeply dissatisfied" with the car-buying process due to the inability to buy online and the 75% of customers who would consider making an entire car purchase online (Accenture).
Display reconnects dealers with their cars by enabling the production of stock-based content for use on websites, social media, or in correspondence with customers. Dealers can use the corresponding VIN or registration numbers to create product-accurate pictures, videos, turntables, or other media in a matter of seconds. This content can be produced in just a few clicks via a simple interface, via ZeroLight's unique cloud-based rendering platform, SpotLight, which offers unmatched production times and costs. This centralised platform means that all model updates will automatically and immediately be made available for all dealers, enabling them to produce new assets before they even receive the latest models in person. These assets use head-office approved templates and camera angles, so they are always on brand, but dealers are still able to personalise them by using a custom photographic environment of their very own dealership.
Display significantly reduces the speed and cost of content production while offering a wider range of outputs than could ever be achieved with a physical car. These uniquely engaging assets enable dealers to thrive in one of the most crucial areas of modern car buying: online research. Online is the primary channel for 75% of the customer journey (Analogue Folk), and 49% of customers do all or most of their pre-purchase research online (Accenture). Despite this, many dealerships' websites feature vehicle listings with no imagery whatsoever. This poses a significant problem, as weekly research from What Car? indicates that customers are increasingly likely to flip to another dealership if no in-stock options are available at their first choice (35% expressed this view in the latest survey, up from 25% the week before). As a result, dealers can gain a competitive advantage both during and after social distancing by producing professional-quality, product-accurate images and videos for every vehicle in their inventory with Display. If they do not, they could be losing customers to competitors.
ZeroLight is a cloud-based 3D visualisation specialist offering car-configuration and content-production solutions to the automotive industry. Designed to enhance touchpoints across the vehicle-shopping journey, these globally scalable solutions deliver competitive advantages to clients by driving engagement, higher specification sales, and lower content-production costs. For more information about ZeroLight, go to zerolight.com