Hyundai has recently partnered with Amazon to offer customers a virtual showroom, making them the first automaker to create such a page. In addition to buying a set of headphones, American customers can now shop for their next Hyundai on the e-commerce site. While they can’t buy a car directly from Amazon, customers can visit the virtual showroom to compare prices, read reviews, book a test drive and find a Hyundai dealership in their area on Hyundaiusa.com.
The virtual showroom will be incorporated into Amazon’s Vehicle section which they launched in 2016. Although customers could already browse other car makes and models, including Tesla to Toyota, they lacked detailed vehicle profiles and pictures. In contrast, Hyundai has created a much more complete shopping experience.
Hyundai wants to distinguish themselves from other car manufacturers by building on the Amazon platform with its own showroom. On its own dedicated landing page, Hyundai highlights the brand’s features including informational videos on Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance program and the Hyundai Blue Link connected car service integration with Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant.
Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance is built around fair-market prices online, flexible test drives, the ability to process more of the transactions online and a “three-day worry-free” exchange when purchasing new vehicles.
According to Dean Evans, Hyundai Motor America CMO, “The car industry is changing, and customer demands and expectations around a frictionless, efficient and transparent experience are key drivers.”
In the virtual showroom, they create a selection of Hyundai vehicles for customers based on their preferences and buying habits. From there, customers simply choose a model they like and explore it in more detail flipping between product pictures, colours and reviews. If a customer is satisfied with their selection, they can either schedule a test drive or visit a dealership nearest to them.
Initially, Hyundai partnered with Amazon back in 2016 for an on-demand test drive program called “Prime Now. Drive Now.” It was aimed at the 2017 Hyundai Elantra in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. People could book test drives through the Amazon Prime Now service, commonly known for delivering groceries and other household items. This program enabled customers to request that vehicles be delivered to their homes, office or even local coffee shops.
Although Amazon was not interested in Hyundai’s initial pitch to drive more traffic to the automaker’s web portals, everything changed when they proposed the Shopper Assurance initiative. According to Evans, “They’re looking for brands that want to meet them halfway to ensure that the customer experience at retail is up to their standards.”
While this service is not currently available in South Africa, perhaps the initiative between Hyundai and Amazon will pique enough interest to generate a real demand.