O2O is the future of automotive retail

O2O is the future of automotive retail

From screen to showroom, INFINITI LAB rolls out newest accelerator programme

Buying a car is the second most expensive purchase most people will make in their lifetime. However, the sales process and overall experience has not evolved at the same pace as other consumer and lifestyle products; a problem that is pervasive across the industry.

INFINITI, the premium arm of the Renault-Nissan-Alliance, recognizes this and aims to support talented startups to develop solutions specifically for the automotive industry. The INFINITI LAB accelerator programme aims to work with startups to transform both the online and offline customer journey of purchasing a new car.

Experience-led consumer journeys

It comes as no surprise that modern automotive retail is no longer the hard sell in a showroom. While retail experts contend over how bricks and mortar retail is not yet dead, they will invariably draw comparisons with the likes of Amazon. No matter which side of the argument they are on, they all ultimately point to the same conclusion: retail has changed, and there is a need for all retail businesses to focus their efforts on attraction and retention of customers. Adding to all of this is the complexity of digital transformation strategies to attract and retain potential customers.

Power to the people

So how can automotive brands put the power back into the hands of the consumer and allow them to engage when, where and how they want, all while capturing and predicting their preferences and needs? How can this experience be married with the in-store experience to avoid disconnect and an impersonal interaction upon entering the showroom?

AI solutions, blockchain, customer profiling, simulation technology, AR/VR and CRM could all play a part in helping to design this intelligent digital ecosystem.

The changing face of retail

Offline customer experiences need to excite and engage more than ever in order to develop brand loyalty with the future consumer; that could come in the form of a test-drive that comes right to the doorstep, or an asset light pop-up store that uses predictive profiling to instantly visualise the customer’s future car as soon as they enter a showroom. The automotive retail experience of the future needs to provide a tailored and interactive experience that responds to customers’ needs, surprises and entertains them, and keeps them coming back for more.

Also read: Big names lead US$60M investment into Singapore automotive marketplace Carro

Visionaries 777, for example, is an augmented and virtual reality developer and an INFINITI LAB alumni that has played a part in this transformation. They have equipped INFINITI’s showroom with 3D intelligent visualisers and immersive experiences that engage and educate the consumer about INFINITI’s world-first technologies.

Future of retail

INFINITI LAB recognizes the opportunity and potential to re-design the future consumer experience and is welcoming startups to join them on this journey.

Startups chosen for the 12-week program will receive intensive mentorship and training, and will have access to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. They will also have access to a network of investors and partners and get the opportunity to ultimately partner with INFINITI to create new solutions for the auto-maker.

Applicants do not need to be currently operating in the automotive industry to be eligible.

INFINITI LAB is now accepting applications for their 2018 program which starts at the end of September. Applications close on the 24th of August. For more details, visit their website

Be a part of this transformation by designing a frictionless and memorable experience for the future premium consumer.

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by INFINITI LABS

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