How we made “the greatest car configurator ever built”
The way the world shops is changing, and the automotive industry is no exception. Customers are switching their habits, moving online (Cox), and using multiple devices while they do it (Facebook). This isn’t just for browsing: 52% of people say that they would buy a vehicle online if they had the opportunity (Facebook).
The problem is that automotive retailers aren’t keeping pace. Just 1% of customers are fully satisfied with the car-buying journey (McKinsey), and this is even worse in younger generations (Accenture). As other industries continue set new standards for customer experiences, automotive OEMs are now judged against the likes of Amazon and Netflix – they need to entice, engage, and entertain their customers.
A whole new way to buy cars
The answer to this challenge is no secret. Digitalisation is the key to addressing these pitfalls and maximising engagement, and Lucid Motors is a prime example of what this can look like. It worked with ZeroLight to create something new for the launch of the Lucid Air: the world’s first fully cloud-powered car-buying journey.
“Lucid Air ushers in a new era of luxury mobility that delivers a distinctly elevated level of integrated design and technology. We have built a customer experience that mirrors this progress in every sense, and in partnership with ZeroLight, we have created a uniquely rich journey where the customer has the freedom to explore, configure, and purchase the Lucid Air on their own terms, at any time, on any device.”
– Derek Jenkins, VP of Design, Lucid Motors
A look under the hood
There is one common theme underpinning every interaction across every device: the cloud. ZeroLight’s unique cloud-based visualisation platform means that each customer interacts with the same CAD-based digital twin model whether they’re on a phone or a computer. This means there is no compromise between quality and scalability: the same smooth, responsive, and engaging experience is delivered every time.
Online, customers can personalise the Air using ZeroLight’s Palette and Palette+ configurators, which have been integrated directly into Lucid’s stunning website. They can then move in-store to one of Lucid’s Studios, where they can use cutting-edge 4K and VR configurators to finalise their choices. If they prefer to stay online, the in-store experience can be brought to them via a digital 1-to-1 experience between customer and salesperson. Powered by ZeroLight’s Concierge product, it enables a customer to interact with a digital model of the Air from the comfort of their home while they are guided through its key features and configuration options. Because this is all powered by the cloud, no screen sharing, downloads, or plugins are required – just load the page and start the journey.
At every stage, the customer is met with a range of pioneering world firsts. Whether it’s cloud-streamed ray tracing, multi-person multi-car VR, or the cloud-rendered volumetric video environments shown below, the latest visualisation technology is used to create a truly premium experience like no other.
The power to personalise
The cloud-based integration has another major benefit. It means on-demand personalisation isn’t just possible – it’s possible at scale. In the Lucid Air purchase journey, the right content is always delivered to the right customer at the right time. Images, videos, and even customised interactive pages – they are all automatically tailored in real time to showcase a specific configuration, making hyper-personalisation a standard feature in every Lucid Air purchase.
“This is a turning point for the automotive industry, as we wave goodbye to one-size-fits all retailing and use the cloud to empower a new age of customer-centric digital experiences. Welcome to car buying, as it should be.”
– François de Bodinat, CPO, ZeroLight
If customers opt in, data from their configuration sessions is logged in Lucid’s CRM system. This information is then sent across to ZeroLight’s content-production platform SpotLight Suite™, which uses scalable cloud-based rendering to create high-end content without the common costs or delays. Lucid’s marketing team can also use this platform to produce a range of stunning visual assets like the image below to support their sales and marketing needs.
In just a few short months, the project has made a major splash. At launch, Lucid saw 650 concurrent user configurator sessions, which were 2x longer than those on competitor’s solutions. The numbers haven’t dropped off since. In the 10 weeks after this, over 436,000 sessions were recorded.
“I’ve never seen so much engagement on a single website at launch. There were other major launches around the same time; we totally overperformed those numbers in terms of sessions, engagement, and concurrent users on the site and the configurator—and in making reservations. And it’s stable—whatever we did, we couldn’t break it.”
– Thomas Orenz, Director of Digital Interactive Marketing, Lucid Motors
ZeroLight’s Palette+ configurator in particular has moved the needle for Lucid. As compared to an image-based alternative, it saw 47% higher engagement, 46% more reservations, and a 51% increase in revenue per session. It’s no wonder Top Gear called this “the greatest car configurator ever built”.