Really: Fiat In Brazil Brings Car Showroom To The Web

Fiat in Brazil has taken the dealership showroom online with an immersive experience that does the typical car-portfolio site one better, or three better. To call it a virtual dealership doesn't quite describe it. It's not virtual. It's a real showroom of Fiat cars with a real sales expert, really walking you around the showroom in real time. /p>

The Fiat Live Store, via Brazilian firm AgênciaClick Isobar, lets visitors interact directly with sales people, and participate in demonstrations. When a visitor arrives at the site, a video kicks off the experience (there are six videos for each of the five Fiat Brazil vehicles) after which visitors can opt-in to get a tour. The agency says that, so far, 67.4% of live chats scheduled a test drive; there have been 465,000 average monthly unique views; 280 average daily live chats and 7.5 average of minutes spent on a live chat.

"It's quite innovative, and it’s really important for our strategy," says Joao Batista Ciaco, advertising and relationship marketing director for Latin America and Brazil at Fiat Automóveis. "When we think about how to improve the purchasing experience, we know 80% of consumers go to our Web site first, and the online experience before point of sale. So if you don't have a great full-line online attraction, you won't get people to [dealerships]." 

Ciaco tells Marketing Daily that creating this kind of immersive retail-esque experience has been a digital strategy for Fiat Brazil for the past several years. "Fiat has historically been very good in this aspect. For example, we were the first company in Brazil with a car configurator," he says, adding that the company has spent the past 15 years doing research on how to optimize the digital retail experience. 

Renato Campana, creative director at AgênciaClick Isobar, tells Marketing Daily that the program is powered by a staff of 60, with nine product experts manning the showroom daily. He says the agency also developed the smartphone app tour that guides carry and use to deliver photos, test-drive schedule signups, and vehicle specs in real-time to a visitor’s screen. And the headsets worn by the hosts were also custom designed.

"We had to develop it from scratch because we didn't have the point-of-view video and two-way voice chat through WiFi that we needed. That was a challenge." During the tour, the host at some point looks into the sideview mirror of one of the cars so that the visitor can see who's doing the tour. Campana says that's part of the experience. "It makes it personal; you can see there's a real person talking." 

Ciaco says visitors are spending an average of nine minutes with the product experts, that the site gets about 1,500 visits per day, and that Fiat's Brazil site gets about 7 million visits per month. "Fiat already has very good penetration in the country, and we are the number one brand in Brazil," he says. 

He says the new feature offers a bridge to retail that was sorely needed. "People who go to the Live Store are in a much different part of the purchasing process; they are almost at the point of buying a car and have specific questions they want answered. So it's not a general demonstration about the car, or a generic experience; it's very specific and technical." 

The site could have appeal in other markets where dealership sales staff are selling too many brands to be experts in any one of them. "What we are seeing in Brazil and worldwide at point of sale is that [dealerships] are increasingly multi-brand experiences. So the idea here is to improve the experience for car buying in ways that are maybe not being delivered at point of sale, such as deep knowledge of technical details,” says Ciaco. “We are seeing that consumers are going to Live Store to understand the technology of the cars." 

Fiat has not said it will expand the program, but adds: "We have been discussing this with our international team, and they are following up what's going on here.”

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