SMITH recently debuted its newly redesigned Gatineau office. The open house event was attended by clients, partners, and dozens of excited “SMITHies” anxious to show off their new home. At the event, we put our innovative spirits on display and invited everyone to experience one of our many Future Commerce scenarios. With our clients representing a range of industries, we decided to dive into consumer experience most of us can relate to – taking your car in to get serviced. By putting our attendees in the shoes of both the customer and the service technician, they walked away with a first-hand experience on how the Elements of Future Commerce will help transform the relationship consumers have with their local car dealership or auto-body shop.
To set the scene, our customer is driving one day when the “check engine” light goes on. Since their car is continuously collecting and sharing data with its manufacturer, the customer receive an SMS text from our fictitious local dealership Ronson Smart Motors, who sets them up with an appointment to come back in and get their car serviced.
Now you’re the customer, when you drop off the car, the waiting room kiosk recognizes your face from prior visits, accesses your profile, and presents you with three options to keep you happy and engaged while the technician reviews your vehicle’s diagnostic data.
- Grab a coffee with a virtual barista, who since never forgets a face, greets you by name, and recommends your favorite orders while intelligently conversing with you through a paired Alexa speaker.
- Explore the trade-in value for your car, and review tailored offers based on live local inventory, your preferences, and the current state of your vehicle.
- Throw on the available VR headset from Ronson’s travel partner, Vision Air, and immerse yourself in their Vacation Explorer experience where you’ll be presented with custom tailored destination packages with 360 video experiences for each.
With the VR headset on, you receive a message from the technician asking you to return to the kiosk for an update on your car.
Now you’re the technician, and after the car is dropped off, you run through the services checklist while wearing a Microsoft HoloLens’s headset, which serves as a visual aid helping you visualize the car’s performance data. While running the checks, when you notice the brake pads look worn, you simply say “Hey Cortana, show me minimum brake pad specs on this part.” You confirm the current brakes have 3mm of pad life left and alert the customer. Connected through a two-way video chat, which streams the view from your headset to the kiosk in the waiting room, you show the customer the comparison of new pads to their car’s current brakes and recommend they be replaced. The customer appreciates the transparency but quickly becomes frustrated after learning what the additional repair costs would be. Their unfavorable reaction triggers an alert in your headset which recommends that you extend a 10% discount. This gesture alleviates the situation, and the customer agrees. You finish the repairs and send the customer on their way!
At the end of the night, our goal was we demonstrate how new interfaces, immersive technologies, and artificial intelligent systems will transform how consumers and businesses buy and sell products and services, and through our car maintenance scenario, we specially envision the outcomes SMITH generates for Ronson Smart Motors.
- Repeat or return customer visits increase when vehicle diagnostic data on driving style and user preferences trigger real-time alerts for Ronson to schedule appointments and alter demand forecasts for expected repairs and parts.
- Overall service times improve, and customer satisfaction increases as new tools augment and assist the technicians through their vehicle inspection and interaction with the customer.
- Customer lifetime value increases as relationships are strengthened by personalizing offers to the customer and promoting transparency throughout the repair.
- Customer engagement and new customer acquisition increases as VR-based experiences offer Ronson new opportunities to partner with complimentary retail or travel services.
Here at SMITH, we don’t profess to be able to predict the future, but we are continuously examining how new business models, external market forces, and emerging technologies are reshaping the consumer’s perception of value and transforming the very nature of ‘commerce’. From retail, to manufacturing, to the travel industry, our team is defining Future Commerce, and working with our clients to help break free from the status quo and pave their way for exponential growth.
If you’d like to discuss these topics further, SMITH can help.
Whether you’re exploring an evolution in your approach to selling by moving to pure ecommerce or a hybrid approach with a tool like Mirakl, looking for an edge in operations optimization with augmented reality, or ready to deploy intelligent replenishment for your customers, we can help.