Skoda has delivered over 2,000 hours of product demonstrations through its Skoda Live Tour digital showroom offering in its first year.
John French, Skoda UK head of sales operations, told AM 75% of Live Tour users are new to the brand, 38% have gone on to book a test drive and 10% have converted to a sale.
The Skoda Live Tour, powered by Whisbi, is a digital showroom concept that offers a one-way live video stream to a Skoda product host in the Live Tour showroom who can take customers through a 360-degree tour of vehicles in Skoda’s line-up.
French said those using Live Tour are usually at an early stage of the buying process and aren’t quite ready to take the step to visit a dealership.
Those that are ready to test drive are offered one at a showroom of their choosing, and also given a date and time if they are in a position to commit.
French said customers have reacted well to Live Tour, tracking at a 95% positive customer satisfaction score.
Live Tour HQ, Milton Keynes
The Live Tour has a full-time team of seven (manager, supervisor and five product hosts) and prospective customers can use the service between 11am and 9pm on weekdays and between 11am to 7pm on the weekend.
French said: “Since launch, the conversion from Live Tour visits to test drive requests has been 38%, but we have seen a steady uplift in these numbers since January, with 48% going on to book a test drive in the first quarter of this year. From a test drive, we have seen a healthy 10% go on to buy.”
Three-quarters of leads generated from the Live Tour have been for Skoda’s new seven-seat Kodiaq and Karoq crossover.
French said the types of requests for information have spanned from wanting to know if one of Skoda’s models is going to fit with their lifestyle, to asking for advice about fitting child seats or getting a demo of how the infotainment system works.
He said: “Customers get the most surprise from Skoda’s simply clever features in each car like the ice scraper in the fuel cap, magnetic torch in the boot, umbrellas in the door or in the case of the Karoq, how the VarioFlex seating works and the different rear seat combinations that it offers.
“The Live Tour has also gone down well with people who are less mobile. It has enabled Motability customers to use the online service and play an active role in the decision-making process.”
Legend said the way customers are interacting with dealerships is changing and the Live Tour plays a key part in the research phase so that when a customer does visit a dealership, many of their questions may have been answered before they take a test drive.
French said the success of Live Tour comes down to the number of active leads that are passed on to dealers in the network.
He said: “The Live Tour has become a multi-use platform for the brand, not only for showcasing existing vehicles but using it as a tool to unveil new cars before they reach retailers.
“Towards the end of 2017 we placed the Karoq in the Live Tour a full three months before it went into retailers.
“From this initial first-view period of the Karoq, nearly 20% of hand raisers that came through the Live Tour have been converted into sales.”
French said Skoda is now looking at new ways it can use the Live Tour format after 12 months of refining the concept.
He said the biggest challenge was managing customers from the digital world to the dealer network. Customers now get a confirmation email of the time and date of their test drive with their chosen dealership within an hour of completing their digital tour.
French said it’s this speed where Skoda can see the biggest success in terms of sales conversion.
Once an electronic lead has been generated, Skoda’s Live Tour Hosts call the relevant dealership to make them aware of the lead and to make sure each customer is contacted within an hour.
French said: “We measure our test drive conversions closely and are constantly working with our network to implement new processes which will help improve the number of sales from these customer enquiries.”
French said the dealer network has been “extremely supportive” of the initiative as it is generating more leads for their businesses.
He said: “The Live Tour helps puts ŠKODA on their shortlist and it is then our retailers who pick up with the customer and provide an exceptional experience when they visit the showroom.
“The Live Tour can physically support just a proportion of our range so will continue to underpin and supplement the great work of our retailers.”