Showrooms go digital

Showrooms go digital

Touchscreens, a screen covering an entire wall and calculators that tell how much you’ll save with an electric car. Welcome to the ŠKODA digital showroom.

8. 7. 2021 Škoda World

The digitalisation trend is unstoppable, and that applies to new car sales as well, of course. All sorts of tools are being developed to make the process easier and more efficient – for dealers and customers alike.

Thanks to modern technologies, you can take a close look at the cars and their equipment and have all the functions, configurations and assistant systems explained to you. And conveniently, on large, high-resolution displays. These allow you to visualise all models in all the available colours, trim standards, types of interior upholstery and wheels. Even cars that are not currently in the showroom can be viewed in a very realistic way.

ŠKODA Digital Showroom

“Customers who visit a dealer can generally be divided into two groups. One wants to communicate with the dealer from the very beginning, to be shown everything, to have it explained. Analyses from many different markets, however, have told us that there are large numbers of people who want to wander around the showroom and find things out on their own without the dealer’s assistance at first. The digital equipment in our showrooms is therefore designed to meet the needs of both customer groups,” explains Pavel Kulíšek, dealer network development coordinator.

Kulisek-copyPavel Kulíšek
Dealer network development coordinator

But the digital showroom is not some kind of prototype. “Gradually, every showroom will be digitalised. The visual presentations in the Digital Showroom are now much more sophisticated and the impression is really very vivid. We are adapting the sales system to what customers are familiar with from other areas,” explains Martin Jahn, ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing, during a visit to the Digital Showroom.

ŠKODA Digital Showroom

So before you find a ŠKODA Digital Showroom in your city, take a little – virtual, of course – tour.

A table that responds to touch

The first thing that catches the eye is a giant touchscreen integrated into a table. The table, which is available in both bar and “conference” height, displays the dealer’s complete range – country-specific settings can be set up individually. The customers can find out all the information they need, rotate the image of the car, change the colour of the body and the designs of the alloy wheels. The interior can be explored in a 360-degree, fully panoramic view. They can zoom in and out – all visualisations are in 4K resolution. Needless to say, the system is also connected to other web-based applications such as the ŠKODA Car configurator, which allows you to configure your new car straight away, or the ŠKODA Stock Cars app, where the entire range of cars in stock at a particular dealer is available.

A huge tabletop touchscreen displays the dealer’s entire range.

Handheld display

Another feature is a classic tablet which the dealer’s staff can move freely around the showroom. It has the same app as the touch table – and therefore the same information. “The customer can watch films that explain how the various assistance systems work, for example. It is easier to explain and show in a digital environment what Lane Assist or adaptive cruise control can do. In addition, it also facilitates much better interaction between customers and dealers. Digital reality immerses the customer in the car and everything it has to offer,” adds Martin Jahn.

martin-jahn-ret-e1612948061249-copyMartin Jahn
ŠKODA Board Member for Sales and Marketing

What’s more, the image on the tablet can also be mirrored on the huge screen wall, which also works in 4K resolution and lets you zoom in on various parts of the car’s exterior and interior in unexpected detail. This screen will let you see very realistic images of ŠKODA models in almost life-size.

With a tablet, the dealer can display their entire range anywhere in the showroom.

Display instead of paper

There is a large touchscreen display beside every car on display in the digital showroom. “On these screens you can also see the details of the car on display, change the colours, the wheels, and try out different versions of the interior. It’s one of the most popular features in the dealer network, and we’ve already distributed dozens of them across Europe,” Kulíšek adds.

There is a large touchscreen beside every car in the showroom.

The display can really go into detail – showing standard and optional equipment, original accessories, prices and the number and availability of cars in stock. Even the mandatory energy labels and tyre data are displayed.

And if you’re used to taking all this information home from the dealer on paper, there’s a modern equivalent for you. Simply take a picture of the displayed QR code with your phone and you’ll have everything you need in your pocket in no time.

Scan the QR code with your mobile phone and you can find out all the details about the car.

Find out what you could save

The all-electric ŠKODA ENYAQ iV has an information panel next to it which, in addition to all the details described above, offers further information about eMobility. “You’ll find everything you need to know about charging, battery capacities or what home chargers we offer. The interactive calculators are a big hit and actually a pretty fun game,” Kulíšek adds.

DSC2173-kopieThe ŠKODA ENYAQ iV panel tells you all you need to know about charging, battery capacities and home chargers.

After entering a few details such as your annual mileage and fuel consumption, the panel calculates how much money you would save if you switched from petrol or diesel to electric power. Another calculator lets set parameters such as the season and air conditioning settings, vehicle occupancy, urban or long-distance driving, or your driving style – and then tells you how many kilometres you can drive on a full charge with your chosen battery version. 

Has someone thought of the children?

You can keep young showroom visitors busy with one of several games on a touchpad. Another option ŠKODA is currently testing as a prototype will be a play area with a smart projector that projects game scenes on the ground and can detect human body parts and their movements using cameras. Children can play a game with movements of their feet, for example, while parents find out all about their future car.

DSC2303-kopiePlay area with a smart projector for kids

Online sales are not a threat to dealers

Digital sales are not going to put classic dealers on the scrapheap, though. There will still be a need for someone to arrange the handover of the car or take care of servicing or test drives. This, as Martin Jahn points out, is one of the most crucial aspects of the sales process. 

“Dealers won’t disappear even if we update the car’s software online and remotely, for example. We will still need someone to change our tyres and brake pads and do various repairs, and we will always need someone to talk to about things. I can’t imagine a world where we no longer need the classic dealer,” concludes Martin Jahn, adding that this will continue to apply even if, in a few years’ time, online car sales may account for more than a quarter of sales in the more progressive markets.

Digitalised service

Modern technologies are about more than just selling cars, though. Digitalisation is also improving the after-sales experience – when you take your car to the dealership for servicing, say. “Customers can either hand over the car directly to the service representative, as has been the norm, or choose a more modern and sophisticated option that is available twenty-four hours a day: simply putting the car keys in a Key Box.

Putnar-copyKarel Putnar
Dealer network development coordinator

Another interesting feature is holding the key next to a reader (what is known as a Service Key), which enters the vehicle specification into the system for the service employee, displays its service history or even warns them that, for example, the oil change warning light will come on in the next thousand kilometres. The service employee can thus offer the customer this service straight away, sparing them another trip to the garage in the near future,” says Karel Putnar, aftersales network development coordinator. Another interesting feature is the service camera. When the car is up on the jack in the service bay and the mechanic discovers, for example, that the brake pads are nearing the end of their service life, he films the relevant part and sends the video to the customer, asking if he should take care of it even though this work hadn’t originally been ordered.

“Even handing the car back to the customer can be done via the Key Box. Keys can be picked up at any time, day or night, even on weekends. They wait for the owner in a special secure box that can be unlocked with a code from a text message or email. At the same time, they can leave the keys to the replacement car parked there if they have used one,” Putnar says.