Don't want to go to the showroom? Cadillac will bring the car to you, digitally
The future seems lazy. Look around. No, wait. Look at your phone, and you’ll find an app for almost everything. Be it food or transportation or medicines or even love (apparently), everything can get delivered to you or at your doorstep. And now, the car buying experience looks set to follow suit.
American carmaker giant Cadillac has launched a new service called 'Cadillac Live' in the United States. Touted to be as the future of car retail experience, this will allow potential buyers to have a one-on-one virtual experience of the car and its features.
And if you’re considering this service and the Cadillac website to be the same thing, there is a difference between. Unlike the official website which offers you 360-degree views and colour renderings of the car, the Cadillac Live service connects you to a trained sales agent on a personalised video call.
Shoppers can explore every detail of a Cadillac with the help of a live sales agent, equipped with an iPhone X, Osmo Mobile gimbal and Bluetooth headset. The representatives have been trained to demonstrate the various functions of the car on demand via the video call. They even carry a set of props like golf bags or suitcases to showcase space inside. A digital interface has also been provided to them to share colour, wheel and accessory choices.
Melissa Grady, chief marketing officer at Cadillac, said, “We want to give a customer enough information on the vehicle that they want to go in and test-drive it. [Cadillac Live] is the whole experience they would have [at a dealership] besides getting behind the wheel.”
At launch, anyone in the United States can log in at live.cadillac.com to either video chat with a live salesperson, view a pre-recorded session or book a meeting for a later date. Additionally, shoppers can invite a partner to join a live session as well. And while the customers can hear and see the agents on the video call, the agents are restricted to audio-only from customers.
As per Google-derived statistics, Cadillac claims that twice as many car buyers start their research online versus at the dealership. Moreover, 71 per cent of customers report switching to a competitor’s product after finding their selection process easier. And these data-derived observations is where Cadillac aims to stand out, via its Live service.
Launch of new models is another area where the Cadillac Live service aims to distinguish itself. It’s also the only place consumers can go to online to see new Cadillac models before they go on sale, says Grady. “Normally what we do is we have cars that go around on a roadshow and dealers will have launch events, but that again, is on our terms and not on the customer’s terms,” she says. “If they can’t go to that, they can log onto Cadillac Live and experience the vehicle.”
This service is said to have debuted in Canada, last March, where the company converted a 10,000-square foot film studio into its digital showroom. After seeing rising footfalls in test drives post the Live service, the US offices are said to have adopted the same.
As part of a pilot test, the entire Cadillac Live service is open to five states (California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas) for now. This implies that post the conclusion of the video call session, consumers from these five states will be redirected to their nearest local dealer directly upon a request for a test-drive. Whereas, consumers hailing from other states will instead receive a list of dealerships closer to them.
This five-state pilot test is said to run until the second quarter of next year. Post that, the full service will expand to all other states as well. Out of the 900 dealerships pan USA, 160 Cadillac dealerships are running the pilot programme at the moment.