New cars are incredibly expensive, and most people don’t feel comfortable picking a vehicle based exclusively on two-dimensional images and whatever data they can pull up on the Kelley Blue Book website. Consumers don’t want to go into dealerships, either, so they end up delaying their purchases for as long as possible.
RelayCars thinks it has a solution.
The company has put together a program that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help consumers research new cars and trucks. Getting a realistic view of a vehicle from their own homes helps users narrow down their selections and decreases the time shoppers need to spend test driving multiple cars.
The real opportunity in VR and connected cars, going back to our primary focus on local commerce, could be to utilize that captive in-car media time with local discovery tools. Ad-supported experiences could be geo-targeted based on where you are or where you’re going. Destination-based discovery tools could be baked in.
Local advertising is a $150 billion market, and is particularly conducive to AR, given the technology’s ability to qualify purchase decisions in the commerce-heavy offline world. There will be a land grab for this digital real estate as mobile AR gains consumer traction. There will be also questions about who “owns” that virtual space.
Soon, graphical overlays to the physical world will amplify everything from retail shopping (store navigation and product info), to finding a restaurant (ratings & reviews) to buying a home (values & specs). Utility will lead; marketing departments and jargon police can follow.
With the rise of Oculus and a host of other new companies, there has been lots of talk this year about the potential local and retail implications for virtual reality and augmented reality. At Street Fight Summit West in San Francisco earlier this month, a panel examined how brands and retailers see the VR/AR opportunity.
Most beacon scenarios require users to jump through a set of compatibility hoops. But Google has been quietly working on an antidote: The physical web. To sidestep some of the opt-in friction, it positions the browser as the beacon interface and it transmits beacon content using URLs.
Retale, a mobile app that brings local circulars to consumers, is jumping right in to VR/AR, launching what it calls “the world’s first virtual reality location-based shopping companion.” Street Fight recently caught up with Retale CEO Christian Gaiser to discuss why the company is betting this technology will become a vital channel for future shoppers.
With each passing tech revolution, response time diminishes while opportunity cost grows. Local media companies that were late to the consumer internet or the smartphone revolution already know this pain. With VR and AR, local startups will be more agile to experiment than larger incumbents.
On the show: Didi Kuaidi raises $3B, rebrands, and invests in Lyft; CartoDB raises $23m; Toshiba moves into wearables; “Drive Smart” in New York and get rewarded; Refugees Welcome helps find homes for refugees; new research from Zebra. Plus, news from Estimote, BP, Auntie Anne’s and Postmates, Marriott, and Proxama and Ubiquitous.