Published on June 20th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Toyota’s New Augmented Reality Shopping Experience: A Shift In The Car Buying Journey?
It remains to be seen if this type of AR experience can come close to the real experience. In the case of car shopping, that’s a big challenge. Daniel Newman reports at Forbes about a new AR offering from Toyota that lets a person shop for cars “in the comfort of your home.” It will take VR to simulate driving the car but this experience could be a powerful first step in getting the customer to the showroom.
Photo source: Toyota
Just when you thought augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) had fallen off the creative drawing board, Saatchi & Saatchi, in partnership with Vertebrae, a company that creates AR experiences for brands as a form of consumer engagement, is bringing it back to the forefront in a new immersive experience with Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota. Toyota’s immersive AR experience will lead the auto industry in what is sure to be an increasing move toward digital transformation in the form of AR and MR.
Saatchi & Saatchi and Toyota are no strangers to using bold tech in the auto market. Before Toyota’s immersive AR experience, Saatchi & Saatchi had created an immersive print ad that allowed readers to experience the “new car smell,” as well as other tech features. Readers opened the insert by placing their thumbs on a metallic door sensor, which activated a leather scent, measured their heart rate, and sent data to a monitor that registered heartbeat with LCD and sounds. This latest round of Toyota’s immersive AR experience, however, seems to be a truer use-case for AR for the automotive industry at large.
How does it work?
Toyota’s immersive AR experience will bring virtual vehicles to consumers across the United States so they can experience them up close and person. The coolest part is that they’ll do this without requiring users to download a specific app to their mobile device. Instead, the AR experience will be delivered at scale through digital media. For instance, users can simply click a banner ad on a social media page, and Toyota’s AR experience will launch. “This innovative AR technology allows Toyota to engage with guests like never before. It creates a highly engaging online vehicle experience, and highlights Toyota models in a personalized way for each guest,” according to Cynthia Tenhouse, Vice President, Vehicle Marketing and Communications, Toyota Motor North America.
Using transformative 3D and AR technology, Toyota’s immersive AR experience will model the exteriors of 10 different car models. The company believes it will offer a rich digital experience much closer to walking around a real car than any video or imagery could ever provide. From there, consumers can place the AR vehicle in any environment (in their driveway or garage – or in front of their office) and walk around the vehicle to explore it at any angle. They can expand and rotate the vehicle to explore each feature in detail and get a very real sense of what owning the vehicle would feel like.
Each virtual vehicle in Toyota’s immersive AR experience includes a different lifestyle experience, built to appeal to a specific buyer. Customers will also see the most important and relevant standard features called-out as they use the AR, be it AWD, cargo capacity, etc.