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Volvo 300_200The automotive industry has been a hotbed of technology for decades, with automakers consistently topping the charts amongst the most innovative companies in the world. And in the current time of the Internet of Things (IoT), today’s technological advancements are accelerating new opportunities for innovation in all areas of their business, from design, to operations, to the customer experience. And one particular area that automakers are looking to innovate is the car buying experience itself.

The future of car buying

As brands focus on getting closer to their customers, industry leaders are looking at today’s technological advancements and seeing the possibilities, and the opportunities, for making the retail dealership more relevant again and reinventing the car buying experience.

One of the most exciting new examples I’ve seen is the dealership experience that Volvo Cars is exploring with Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first untethered holographic computer.

In a recent event on the Microsoft campus, they demonstrated how the power of holograms might be used in the future to redefine how customers first encounter and explore a car, putting them in the driver’s seat to choose the type of car they want, explore the features and options available, and experience the customization, all within the dealership environment.

They also shared how cars might be bought and sold in the future. In a press release, Volvo explained that HoloLens technology could “liberate dealers from more traditional sales environments and allow them to take a car configurator out on the road in small Pop-Up stores, shopping malls or on the high street, opening up new sales channels and introducing cars to a far larger potential audience.”

Exploring ways to use technology to modernize retail and bring the brand experience and service even closer to customers are sparking up elsewhere.

Infiniti retail group UK for example has moved from a traditional car buying lot to a new, convenient retail environment in luxury shopping malls. And they are using the Surface 3 to help navigate the sales process at every step along the way, from the time the customer steps into the showroom, to showcasing the car inside the retail space and through the test drive.

This is truly an exciting time to be in the automotive industry, and we look forward to helping automakers reimagine what’s possible. You can learn more about the areas of future collaboration between Volvo Cars and Microsoft in this Microsoft Devices Blog post. And head over to our Microsoft Manufacturing blog for additional perspective here.

LinkedIn: Doug Caywood

Twitter: @dougcay