Finally, the long-awaited Apple Watch is available for preorder with initial deliveries on April 24th. Interestingly, for the first time, Apple has chosen to display their new products with stunning 360º displays. That’s good news for SpinCar (Watch the Demo.)
As most of you all know, Apple is the most valuable company in the world and the first $700BN company in history, with a market cap almost double that of the 2nd largest, ExxonMobil. Yet, they don’t have a monopoly or any other unfair market advantage. In fact, Apple was founded just 39 years ago by a college dropout. So, how have they risen to such unbelievable heights?
In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Isaacson said of Jobs:
He talked about Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, “Edwin Land once told me that those people who can stand at the intersection of the humanities and science, the liberal arts and technology, that intersection, are the people who can change the world.”
It is the appreciation for this duality that has made Apple so incredibly successful. This duality clearly stuck with Jobs and is ingrained into every aspect of Apple. Apple is recognized for powerful technology appointed with beautiful, ergonomic design elements. Apple products give users an unprecedented degree of utility without being relegated to a clunky, cobbling of hardware.
So what does this intersection have to do with the Apple Watch and 360º views?
1. The watch is the first Apple product wherein personality outweighs utility.
Apple is calling their new watch, “our most personal device yet.” While Apple has always added a strong personal element to technology, this is the first device where personality may in fact be more prominent than the technological backbone.
2. Today’s consumer is demanding a more interactive online experience for any considered purchase.
Any item with both utility and character becomes a considered purchase for consumers. Striking that balance of usefulness and coolness in a purchasing decision is an art form.
So what does this have to do with cars?
No single product sits at the intersection of tech and art more perfectly than an automobile. Think of a luxury sedan, like a BMW 750Li. It is the perfect coupling of power (Twin Turbo V8, 8 speed trans), comfort (heated, ventilated, 80 way seats), beauty (classic sedan curves, leather, wood), and features (xDrive, safety) — that make this such a desirable, sexy, prestigious product.
Today’s consumer is not buying a car purely for its utility. Think about the difference in the purchase process from a contractor buying a commercial truck and a father buying a family car.
Because of this duality, automobiles are ‘considered purchases’ – no surprise there. So what does that mean?
We can’t treat automotive merchandising as a technical sale. Listing features in text and using a non-fluid display experience is how you sell a commercial truck. A commercial truck is purchased by a procurement department working from a spreadsheet of features and doing a side-by-side comparison of you and five competitors.
To sell a consumer vehicle, you’ve got to put the consumer in control and tug at their heartstrings. Give them the tools to educate themselves. Make the experience enjoyable and let them interact. Display your vehicles in a seamless, intuitive manner. Tag unique features with clickable buttons that unveil photos. Drive engagement.
Doing this will prevent commoditization, protect your margins, and win you the online sale. Take a page out of Apple’s book and try 360º views on consumer vehicles!
Feel free to reach out anytime at (646)692-3535 or stop by and visit me at the Digital Dealer Conference. I’ll be in booth 611 and will also be speaking Wednesday, April 22nd at 10AM in Room #13. I will discuss the ways in which dealerships can mirror retail trends to capitalize on the proliferation of internet research in the car buying process.