360° Car Sales – Virtual Testdrives

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Selling used cars is heavily relying on trust. The investment of a car is oftentimes a decision that influences the customer for several years, therefore being a topic that is heavily researched beforehand by him. According to a Google study, up to 92% of customers research a car online before actually going to the car dealership.


The customer journey transforms into an online experience

Many car dealerships on the other hand heavily rely on in-store sales, which poses a problem because they might be missing out on a huge portion of the customer journey. 20 years ago a customer went 7 times into a car-dealership before making a purchase – nowadays it is reduced to 1.4 times, meaning that nowadays a heavily informed customer is only coming one time into the salesroom when almost all of his customer journey is already done (Study).


All these points point towards the fact, that almost all of the car-buying process transferred online, but traditional car-dealerships are heavily relying on their offline-in-store sales. What can be done to get in touch with customers earlier? What should a car-salesperson do to follow this transition?

How people buy cars nowadays

For once, let us have a look at what exactly happens online. According to a Google study, potential customers research videos for their future car, with searches like “360 virtual test-drive [BRAND] [MODEL]” or “[BRAND] vs [BRAND]”. Additionally, the type of content they watch is as follows:

The top three categories for this search make up “Commercials”, “Highlights” and “Maintenance”. Interestingly, the share of content distributors, or producers of a video, is divided into 93% being “Creators”, and only 7% “Brands”. Meaning that customers prefer content generated by an independent entity instead of the brand itself. This is one important fact to remember, because yes, video is important, but it is equally important that the video material is rather published by an independent entity instead of the brand itself.

When working at my former company we tackled these problems with the production of 360° content. At first, we developed a way to produce 360 inside and outside pictures in a fast manner, such that the car salesmen can easily integrate it into their daily routine. For this we have used an app-based solution, sacrificing some picture quality in order for better usability. For interested dealerships, a higher-quality version was produced, featuring several cameras and a spinning platform that allowed for more stable pictures to be taken.

Demo of the final 360 product including “info”-buttons

As the second step, we produced high-quality VR test-drives that can either be shown in popup stores in locations where a showroom is not possible (dense cities, shopping malls, …) or for the broad reach via Youtube’s 360° feature. These Youtube videos can either be viewed regularly on a website, together with an inexpensive Google Cardboard (~3 USD / piece) or in VR headsets as well.

Find the full set of 360° videos here.

Interaction with 360° content caused our videos to get a higher number of views compared to traditional videos, and a way higher interaction rate that has seen a similar increase to 360° content in real estate – have a look at our own case study for this.

What can we do to help you with your 360° needs?

Prototype of automatic robotic arm

We have experience using both software and hardware. We built customized hardware for this, ranging from the simple case with an app on your regular smartphone to more complex solutions using an automated robotic arm taking the pictures and automatically uploading them to your website.

DataFortress.cloud is your partner for high quality, state-of-the-art solutions.