Italian luxury car manufacturer Ferrari has teamed up with Silicon Valley-based Virtual Reality (VR) specialist zSpace to create an augmented reality app that lets consumers custom-create cars in-store (at present it only functions within the showroom). The app capitalises on consumers' appetite for digitally enhanced retail experiences.
By using 3D tracking technology (developed by US AR software company Metaio), the app recognises specific car models, allowing them to be overlaid with different colours and finishes. Consumers holding an iPad in front of their chosen vehicle can virtually modify its design, witnessing detailed effects on screen for extra reassurance pre-purchase. Using image recognition, the overlays only show the colours applicable to each specific model.
The app also allows shoppers to see inner mechanics of the car (such as the engine or braking system) in much more detail. The whole process of customisation can be recorded as a 15-second video to share via email (there's no direct link to social media networks) as an aid for future decision-making.
Currently, the tool works for five Ferrari models – the 458 Speciale and Spider, the FF, the California and the F12berlinetta. It's available to use in the brand's showrooms in the Asia & South Pacific region (Japan and Australia). A US launch follows in May 2015 during San Francisco's InsideAR Show (May 20-21).
For more examples of car manufacturers using virtual reality to enhance the showroom experience, see Virtual Thrills: Chevrolet's VR-Powered Test Drive, VR-Powered Audi Showroom Experience and Innovations in Automotive Retailing.
For more on augmented reality retail, see Virtual Immersive Commerce and Enhanced Retail Realities (which includes more information on Metaio), both part of our Post-Digital Macro Trend. See also AR Retailing, Toy Worlds: Targeting 'Gen Me' and Immersive Brand Spaces.