The brand is offering potential customers a live tour of models via video streaming

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.

Hyundai launches online buying service for new cars

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.

The service is run from a studio with space for three vehicles, which are currently two Kodiaq SUVs and an Octavia Estate.

Jaguar Land Rover to open Rockar digital store

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.”

Is this the future of the car dealership?

Our Verdict

Skoda Fabia

The new Fabia takes the old pragmatism upmarket. Does it work?

Join the debate

Comments
1

5 May 2017
That is if they knew a bit more about the product they are selling. Maybe the dealers' expertise is limited to filling in PCP forms and selling extras like fancy wheels and floormats?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen Golf MHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    VW's 48V mild hybrid technology is still a few years away from production, but we’ve sampled a prototype Golf fitted with it and are suitably impressed
  • Jeep Compass
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Jeep enters the competitive compact SUV market with its new Compass, blending ruggedness with contemporary styling and tech
  • BMW 1 Series Saloon
    We had a short drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    A brief drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive model shows the future is bright for the 1 Series when it makes the switch from RWD next year
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Toyota Prius PHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Does running a plug-in hybrid really make sense as a 500-mile-a-week driver? Six months with a Toyota Prius Plug-in should give a conclusive answer