With technology, Cadillac proved we can bring the showroom to the customer
As far as luxury car manufacturers are concerned, Cadillac needs a comeback. Their product portfolio had been lagging, concentrating on cars instead of the uber-popular SUVs dominating the vehicle landscape. That was one of the reasons old boss Johan De Nysschen, formerly from Infiniti, was replaced by Cadillac President Steve Carlisle, who was hand-picked by General Motors executives. Carlisle knew the focus should be on SUVs, and the introduction on the latest 2021 Cadillac Escalade, complete with its huge instrument cluster and infotainment screens. Never before has such a tech-laden screen been introduced in a car. It features a wraparound curve, just like a theater screen, and OLED technology. These screens enable several customizable displays including augmented reality navigation and night vision views. Coupled with Cadillac’s Super Cruise automated-driving technology, the vehicle should be a dream for tech-lovers. It will also give Cadillac a competitor to the excellent Lincoln Navigator. Ford has done a wonderful job with that SUV. Carlisle notes, “We have an arsenal of products and technologies that will create even more differentiation for Cadillac and establish a very unique and attractive position for us in the global marketplaces. Where do we go next? Well, we're going on the offensive.” That sounded great – until COVID-19 came around. But Cadillac had something in its arsenal that makes you wonder about the brand’s precognition or psychic abilities…
Buying a car can be overwhelming, and Cadillac understands that. Although production has been halted, there is still a lot of vehicles on lots with dealerships eager to move them. But the shopping experience is especially overwhelming when showrooms are closed and people don’t even want to come out of the house. With today’s technology, during a ‘normal’ shopping experience, shoppers are often overcome with an abundance of information, and typically begin their car-buying journey online, on their own schedule.
Cadillac’s new digital showroom, “Cadillac Live,” leverages these advances in technology and brings the experience to shoppers from the comfort of anywhere that suits them best. According to the company, through this immersive luxury shopping experience, “Cadillac Live” offers consumers unique ways to learn more about the Cadillac vehicle lineup. “Live” offers access to dynamic views of the vehicle while shoppers can learn more about them in detail through one-on-one conversations with product specialists across any mobile and desktop device. The miracle of the whole situation is Cadillac had implemented “Cadillac Live” just before the crisis. Now they have a unique infrastructure to help market their product in a safe way.
As part of the pilot program, consumers in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas can then connect with a local dealer to safely test-drive a vehicle of choice and take the next steps on their path to purchase. Shoppers outside of those five states can still enjoy everything else Cadillac Live has to offer and can find a local dealer anytime on Cadillac.com. “Luxury consumers are looking for a seamless, one-on-one shopping experience, whether online or in-person. Cadillac Live offers a high degree of personal service, with time-saving conveniences and extended hours, reflecting today’s evolving shopping habits and our customers’ expectations,” Melissa Grady, Cadillac’s CMO, states. “Data from Google shows twice as many car buyers start their research online versus at the dealership, and most shoppers believe it is important for brands to provide expert advice about their products and services. Moreover, 71 percent of customers report switching to a competitor’s product after finding their selection process easier.”
Shoppers can explore every detail of a Cadillac vehicle with the help of a Live agent, who is equipped with an iPhone X, Osmo Mobile gimbal and Bluetooth headset, providing two-way audio and one-way live video. That means shoppers can hear and see the agent, while the agent can hear – but not see – the shopper. The agents are also equipped with a digital interface to share color, wheel and accessory choices. Live-agent sessions are available on demand, or can be scheduled for a future date. Additionally, shoppers can invite a partner to join a Live session.
As we begin to open up, our showrooms may look different. Perhaps we may change the age-old mantra of bringing the customer into the showroom to close. With technology, Cadillac proved we can bring the showroom to the customer. Why not have a FaceTime or Zoom chat with a customer as you show them the benefits of a product? This especially makes sense for older or immune-compromised customers who would otherwise have not shopped at your store in person.