SYDNEY, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Like many other countries, studies show that Australians have increasingly turned to online shopping in 2020.
Volkswagen Australia has experienced these trends first-hand. Having sold over 460 cars online to the value of AUD$36 million since April, Volkswagen Australia today launched the world's smallest car dealership, an activation that highlights the need for more choice and convenience in the way Aussies shop for cars. The miniature dealership stands 28cm tall but features a new Augmented Reality (AR) experience to bring an online showroom to consumers allowing them to 'try on' and then fully customise and buy a new car, without leaving their home.
Australian online online during COVID-19 has accelerated to 15%, up from 9%, and this is set to continue to around 25% by 2025. This increase in demand has seen Aussies not only embrace online shopping for the essentials but now also for higher value items, with Google trends showing that searches for buying cars online have doubled since lockdown and Volkswagen's website traffic has had a record year in 2020, rising by 18% YOY.
Jason Bradshaw, Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, Volkswagen, says, "Many people wouldn't think that Australians are prepared to buy a car online, but they are. The launch of Volkswagen's smallest dealership and AR experience is all about making buying a car online easier and more convenient so Aussies can find, test out and then customise the perfect car for them."
Research shows that the majority of Australians (60%) want retailers and brands to save them time when shopping, signaling that there is a growing importance for shoppers to be able to try out items digitally before they take the plunge.
AR is playing an increasingly important role in consumer shopping experiences with 1 in 2 (49%) saying they would like to use AR as part of their online purchasing to get a better feel for a product. Volkswagen's new AR experience aims to tackle just that by helping transform the way people can shop for cars by bringing the immersive, smallest car dealership experience to Australians, wherever they are. It uses the most advanced graphics for realism while letting Aussies choose their car colour and play with what it looks like on their driveway, at the beach or supermarket, before diving inside to look at the interiors, all from the palm of their hands.
Commenting on the latest shopping trends, Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis, Consumer Behaviour Expert, Retail Doctor Group, says, "Australians love to shop online and we're seeing this trend increase across all ages and demographics. We're not just seeing consumers shopping for their everyday groceries and low-cost items, but we've seen a huge jump in people feeling comfortable to buy higher value items, including cars, online. We expect this trend to continue as more interactive and immersive experiences become available to help people do more pre-research online and feel even more comfortable that they have found the right products for them before purchase.
"In the last six months we've seen brands focused on finding innovative ways to stay connected with their customers which has led to a shift forward of about five years in digital innovations. These innovations are elevating online shopping experiences away from being simple transactions to become fully immersive experiences with Volkswagen's AR experience a great example of this. Additionally, 63% of people state that they would be extremely likely to purchase a car online in the future, and innovations like this will help give people that extra layer of confidence to make those bigger ticket purchases from home."
Features of the custom-built AR technology also include the ability to test out the lights, open and close the doors, look into and interact with the interiors for both of the new small SUVs – T-Roc and T-Cross, with more cars to follow. The experience also allows consumers to arrange a test drive or buy online – all in one place.
Jason Bradshaw continues: "During COVID-19, we've seen our online store also helping support our network of dealerships, particularly those in the state of Victoria, as buying online also enables a safe and contact-free way to buy cars. We're continually looking for ways to enhance our customers shopping experiences and are excited to be able to give Australians the opportunity to "try on" our latest range of small SUVs in their own time, on their own driveway, to help them feel confident that they have found the right car for them with a brand they know and trust. This is just the first phase of the AR as we'll continue to add more cars to the experience over time to let even more Australians try on our full range of cars."
Visit the smallest dealership to check out the AR experience:
Volkswagen was born in 1937 of a desire to create a vehicle that could bring German engineering to the masses – the 'People's Car' – and this is a position that it has maintained to this day.
The company hit the open road in Australia in 1953 with the arrival of its very first Beetle. Since then it's clocked up a lot of Ks and passed many milestones -from the Passat winning Wheels Magazine car of the year way back in 1974, through to selling more than 600,000 vehicles right across the country.
Volkswagen is proud of its history in Australia and is focused on developing new models, services and technologies to help Australians enjoy their driving experience. It's fair to say we're far from reaching the end of the road.
In April 2020, Volkswagen launched its online store enabling Australians to build their own car, customised to their needs and preferences, book a test drive and purchase a car online. To date, over 450 cars have been sold online, worth over $36 million.
Volkswagen Group Australia was incorporated in 2001.
SOURCE Volkswagen Group Australia