The online marketplace continues to dominate, and the automotive sector is proving no different. We are at a point where a majority of people would rather keep the entire experience online when buying a new vehicle. With such a focus on the online environment, it’s critical to have the first-party tools available to make these wishes a reality.
Today, 83% of consumers expect a personalised service. According to McKinsey, there is an appetite for personalisation done the right way. It can lead to five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and can increase sales by 10%.
It’s why car configurators are more important than they ever have been, especially with the progression of VR and AR. You will likely already have a car configurator, and you might think you are set. You could change your car configurator supplier, but why would you even need to? Yours is fine, right?
A sense of uncertainty
To some, swapping supplier is a challenge not worth facing. With the landscape for configurators continually evolving, the choice can be overwhelming. You have web-based 2D and streaming 3D, in-dealership experiences, burgeoning VR and AR. You will have a supplier already familiar with your front and back-end, so the prospect of going through that again with someone new doesn’t seem worth it. A fine stance to take, but is it best for your business?
It is likely you will have specific front-end and back-end restrictions in place that need to be adhered to. We have seen it with Volkswagen and Bentley; they have fixed systems in place for storing and supplying data in a fixed format. At the same time, there needs to be a specific customer-facing interface that is consistent with the brand.
You need to marry these requirements with the consumer’s desire for personalisation. The truth is, there is rarely a “blank slate” when it comes to configurators. Choosing a new supplier will come down to the efficiency of their pipeline. One that has been designed to work seamlessly with your front and back-end systems. One that, once established, can be continuously worked on to improve it in terms of speed and flexibility for the benefit of the customer.
Getting to know you
In some cases, you might have a configurator that feels too similar to a competitor’s. Your current supplier might have a one-size-fits-all approach, creating cookie cutter configurators that lack a unique charm. If you are spending a considerable amount, you want to know you are not just another client on the pile. You want someone who is dedicated to and understands your brand.
In the case of one particular supercar brand, we performed a ‘Technical Feasibility Study’. This means working with data efficiently and effectively to produce world-class photo-realistic assets as a test, with a model that already has CGI assets available. We were able to demonstrate how quickly we can work with the client’s data and show the level of quality we could achieve with configurator assets. Working with existing assets means that the client had a ready comparison once we completed the study.
This is about more than the art. Your brand probably has a set of guidelines to manoeuver through, and it is at this point that a studio that has development capabilities comes in handy. Get your outputs delivered in the format you require, to the specifications and rulesets your brand adheres to, and the process again becomes simplified and painless, allowing the quality to shine through.
The start of something greater
But the journey doesn’t end when the configurator is complete. A company with ambition that matches your own will want to push the envelope, bringing you into the future tech that will dominate the scene.
That new configurator you have? Why not bring it into a VR environment. Or why not use it as a tool to create advertising images, movies, or applications. The more utility you can derive from this asset, the more value you will see from it. Remember, if you can configure it, you can use it.
So this brings us to the crux of the issue: why not change car configurator suppliers? If the configurator wasn’t the beginning of something great, you aren’t reaping all the benefits you could be. If the only thing stopping you is supposed difficulty, find a company who makes the process as painless as possible.
At RealtimeUK, we have been creating a wide variety of car configurators for a large range of leading automotive brands over the last 20 years. Our experience with engines such as the Unreal Engine allows us to configure in real time. If you are looking to change car configurator supplier, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.