The studio of the virtual showroom features three cars, two Kodiaqs and an Octavia estate
The studio uses static cameras, alongside smartphone camera, to show potential buyers the models
Smartphone cameras show the viewer close-up details of a car
The studio could expand in future if the project proves successful
Skoda has launched a digital showroom which will allow interested customers to be shown around models in a live presentation via internet video streaming.
Described as being like a “one-way Skype call”, website visitors can click a button to request an instant video call back. A so-called product host will then show the person the car using a mix of static cameras and a smartphone camera and answer any questions.
At the end of the video call, the host will ask whether the person wants to be referred to a local Skoda dealer, and if so, will take the person’s details.
The new service does not offer the opportunity to complete a car purchase online. Some manufacturers, including Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover and Smart, already offer customers the chance to purchase via the internet.
Jonathan Harris, Skoda's new retail concept manager, said the service's focus was “supporting Skoda's very good, established network” of dealers.
The showroom is open 10.30am to 9.30pm each day, allowing Skoda to target potential customers in the evening, said Harris, when people have more time to research cars than during a working day.
Harris said that the models would change over the coming months to gauge which were most successful in the digital showroom.
Because of the limited studio space, only three live tours can occur at any one time. If all three cars are in use, interested parties can book a time slot to be called back.
The service launched quietly a month ago, ahead of its official reveal today. Since 6th April, 184 people have used the digital showroom, with 71 of them having gone on to buy a Skoda model – an impressive 39% conversion rate.
Harris said the average live tour time is 15-20 minutes, with the longest so far at 1hr 6min.
There is scope for the project to grow, according to Harris, who said that it would assess its success in the coming months and consider introducing a set-up that would offer the entire model line-up in the studio at any one time.
The move is as a result of Skoda research that showed customers wanted car buying experience to be convenient and easy – including an at-home element – as well as being empowering and having an instant result.
Harris said: “Customers are seeking convenience and excellent service when looking to make a car purchase, and with more and more people doing their research online ahead of going to the showroom, the Skoda Live Tour brings the retail experience to a digital world that is easily accessible.”