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Toyota?s Scion leverages virtual showroom to simplify car shopping

Toyota Motor?s Scion brand is simplifying car shopping by testing a virtual showroom that leverages mobile chat and video to provide guidance from customer representatives to visitors to

The SaleMove/Autobytel-developed service brings a human element to digital car buying while providing real-time highlights on products, services and features. The program, piloted at more than 50 Scion dealerships across the United States, points to the importance of providing a seamless shopping experience for vehicle buyers on mobile.

?The primary objective is to engage consumers in the way they want to communicate with an automotive retailer,? said Justin DiPietro, co-founder of SaleMove. ?It enables dealers and consumers to connect directly via text chat or audio chat, or by CoBrowsing an automotive Web site while they are in the midst of researching their vehicle purchase. 

?This type of experience has never been available before and we believe it has the ability to become the experience car buyers and sellers expect,? he said.  

Configuring vehicles
Customers can use the program, Scion Pure Process Plus, to configure vehicles, view inventory, select a dealer, and pre-negotiate financing before setting foot in the dealership. The new tools and processes give customers the flexibility to complete as much of the process online as they desire further streamlining shopping.

SaleMove mobile interface.

The program aims to guide mobile-savvy millennials through the more complicated elements of car-buying, improving engagement and directly connecting them to dealership retail experts.

SaleMove is an easy-to-use and implement virtual showroom technology that lets dealers and manufacturer representatives  co-browse and communicate with customers as they shop, by way of audio, video and text-based communication.

?Everyone knows having a mobile component in your sales operations is critical,? Mr. DiPietro said. ?SaleMove enables dealers to connect directly with their customers online, and to show them versus tell them about particular vehicle features.  

?This all occurs in an elegant in-browser interface, at the precise time they?re shopping for a car, and at the precise place ? on their mobile devices, at a mobile Web site.? 

The SaleMove interface is native and unobtrusive to the mobile shopping experience. It is an in-browser interface that essentially overlays a mobile site, and fits seamlessly within the existing layout and functionality.  
When the user accepts a chat request, either text or audio, the chat dialogue window appears within the site and communication takes place within that dialogue box on the site. 

When the consumer accepts CoBrowsing, the SaleMove operator and the visitor can navigate together. The collaboration helps the customer build and price a vehicle, browse new and used car inventory, research special offers or incentives the customer might not be aware of, or receive help using the Web site?s tools to value a trade-in.   

?A vehicle purchase is the second largest purchase next to a home ? a significant investment people take very seriously,? Mr. DiPietro said. ?The collaborative shopping experience SaleMove provides enables consumers to immediately get their questions answered, to thoroughly research their vehicle purchase from start to finish with a qualified representative, and to ultimately feel comfortable with the automotive shopping process.  

?For dealers, SaleMove creates relationship building engagement, in addition to leads, and the entire engagement can be pushed to a dealership?s customer relations management for follow up.?

Small screens
For Scion dealers who participate in the SaleMove program, this functionality will be available at their dealership mobile web sites. 

Scion on mobile-optimized Web.

?Because mobile screens are small, having a CoBrowsing experience is incredibly powerful for the customer as the dealership can directly guide the customer to different parts of their mobile website,? Mr DiPietro said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York