I never really believed in the advent of the metaverse. I always thought it was a gimmick. So, when I heard about Fiat’s metaverse (the “Fiat Metaverse Store”), I wanted to try it. It’s a virtual environment where you can interact live with a sales advisor (a “product genius”). Augmented reality is used to show you the car from every angle. The interactions organized through the Fiat Metaverse Store last 40 minutes, and the decision-making process takes an average of 1.5 to 2 months compared to 3 months via traditional channels.
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Fiat Metaverse Store
The Fiat Metaverse Store is an innovation launched by Fiat in March 2021 after its first deployment in Italy. It lets prospects discover the new electric Fiat 500 remotely while chatting live with a sales advisor. The sales consultant, “Product Genius,” is integrated into a virtual environment. It lets him answer all your questions by showing you the car from every angle.
While 99.9% of cars are still sold in dealerships, this initiative brings added value in terms of lead generation. It is a complementary tool to the traditional distribution of vehicles in dealerships. Indeed, the customer experience will start online but will probably continue offline for the test drive.
How does the appointment in the Fiat Metaverse Store work?
Once you have logged on to the Fiat Metaverse Store, you enter a virtual showroom where the “Product Genius” awaits you. This is not an avatar but a real sales advisor you see live, embedded in a virtual setting that he can manipulate.
The virtual showroom becomes an interactive demonstration tool, malleable and at the service of the sales consultant. This is interesting because normally, the showroom is a space on which the sales advisor depends. He can only move around in it, but everything is fixed. Here, it is the showroom that depends on the salesperson. He can make it evolve as he pleases and according to the demands and needs of the prospect. The customer experience is, therefore, tailor-made. The environment adapts to the customer rather than the other way around.
This allows showing the car from all angles and instantly changing colors and options. In the case of the Fiat 500 3+1, the rear door opening mechanism, in particular, can be explained (see below). It is indeed a door that opens in the opposite direction, and this door is only present on the right side of the vehicle.
You can also see the car from the inside and get a first impression of the finishes and equipment available.
On request, the advisor can show you how the various onboard equipment works, including the interactive screen.
If you have more specific questions, the Fiat Metaverse will also adapt. In my case, I asked for explanations on how to recharge the vehicle, the type of plug, and so on… (see above).
Finally, you can also do a test drive on board the vehicle. This is not a simulation where you can drive the car with your keyboard. It is only a real video that puts you in the driver’s seat. Interesting anecdote: the test drive takes place on the roof of the Turin factory.
On this occasion you can test the safety equipment and their operation can be explained to you with the help of other views of the course. I found it very instructive, and the advice was very useful.
A 100% online customer experience is possible
To finish the customer experience, you will receive an email with a commercial proposal. A discount of 1000€ is granted to customers who carry out the customer experience online. And if you would like, you can also order online after depositing 500€.
At this stage, Fiat does not plan to transpose the Fiat Metaverse Store into a virtual reality headset. In a recent interview, fiat-Abarth’s communication director felt that the virtual reality headset was too much of a hindrance because of its cost. So, this is an unnecessary barrier to entry that Fiat has decided to break down by using a virtual studio technology that anyone who has ever participated in a video conference will easily adapt to.
I was pleasantly surprised by the experience proposed by the Fiat Metaverse Store. The advisor explained that customers are not flocking to the metaverse (I was his 4th prospect since the launch).
This is still a really interesting tool to initiate the customer experience. The only two drawbacks are perhaps the resolution of the advisor’s video (difficult to distinguish his face) and some limitations of the virtual environment that prevented my “product genius” from being able to give me all the demonstrations I requested.
Posted in Innovation.