AWS and ZeroLight streamline car-shopping experience

  • January 21, 2020
  • imc

Amazon Web Services (AWS) joined forces with Cadillac and ZeroLight at this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to demonstrate a streamlined vehicle-shopping concept featuring the Cadillac XT6.

The showcase demo created for the event used a range of engaging and personalised digital experiences to guide customers through each stage of the shopping journey. Each of these cloud-based services was systematically integrated into existing automotive touchpoints to create a seamless, connected customer experience.

This conceptual, four-stage, customer-centric journey allows the brand to engage and tailor experiences to customers throughout the buying process, moving from online research to personalised remarketing to in-dealership and post-dealership interactions.

It starts at the awareness and consideration stage, where customers are met with a customised advert based on a selected audience persona. This advert links them to an Amazon Vehicles page that has been enhanced for demo purposes with UK firm ZeroLight’s visualisation technology.

This integrated experience enables shoppers to choose the colour, wheels and interior of the car in a fully interactive 3D configurator. Once they have saved their preferred options, they see a personalised programmatic video advert featuring their exact configuration. They also receive a personalised email from Cadillac that includes pictures and videos of their configuration, which encourages them to move to the dealership stage of the demo.

There, they can instantly load their configuration and continue customising and exploring it with an iPad-controlled 4k configurator, a wireless VR experience, and an interactive AR app within the dealership. Meanwhile, the dealer can use an automatically updated CRM dashboard to offer individually relevant recommendations based on analytics of customers’ interactions in the earlier stages of the demo. Finally, the shopper leaves with a fully personalised and interactive digital brochure as well as an AR-powered user guide.

“The XT6 is powered by innovation,” said Melissa Grady, CMO at Cadillac. “It reflects our relentless focus on driving technological advancements, so it was the perfect model to pioneer this profoundly modern customer experience. Taking users on a streamlined, personalised and highly visual journey, this concept paints an exciting picture of the future of car buying.”

All media content seen in the experience is rendered entirely in the cloud, leveraging Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) compute instances and ZeroLight’s agile, cloud-based content production platform.

“AWS’s extensive cloud architecture gives advanced technology partners in the AWS Partner Network – like ZeroLight – the power to create truly amazing customer experiences at each phase of an automotive customer’s shopping journey,” said Mark Dipko, automotive industry marketing leader at Amazon Web Services. “With AWS, ZeroLight can develop marketing content in real time and integrate it with advanced data analytics capabilities to deliver a consistent, immersive, and personalised vehicle-shopping experience, at scale.”

ZeroLight’s cloud-based rendering platform delivers interactive 3D experiences with no dependencies on expensive end-user hardware. With all content being rendered in AWS, buyers can configure their car in a range of photorealistic virtual worlds and enjoy a consistent level of interactivity, visual quality and responsiveness on any mobile, tablet or desktop device. This is crucial in the dealership stage, where the 4k-resolution configurator is streamed directly to a low-spec PC and controlled via a simple tablet application.

This removes the need for upfront investments of time, money, support and space that would be required if the content was rendered locally on high-end hardware. This centralised approach therefore ensures a more unified, consistent and connected overall experience that is directly controlled and managed by the OEM HQ.

“This year, we’ve leveraged the power of AWS to build a car-buying journey that is entirely focussed around the customers’ needs, interactions and devices,” said François de Bodinat, CMO of ZeroLight. “The hyper-personalisation and seamless integration into the Amazon Vehicles store in this concept demonstrates how ZeroLight’s agile cloud-based solutions can deliver futuristic purchase experiences.”

ZeroLight also redefines personalisation through the on-demand production and distribution of high-end media, including video and picture assets for adverts, emails and interactive digital brochures. This is achieved by the company’s content production platform, SpotLight Suite, which leverages AWS compute capabilities to produce and distribute content on-demand at each stage.

This agile platform enables ZeroLight to create the personalised digital brochure that customers receive after completing the experience. Unlike a static PDF or print brochure, this hyper-personalised version of the recently launched 2020 XT6 Digital Brochures is a dynamic digital experience that enables customers to learn more about the exact car they have configured. To increase the personal touch, each customer is given a Cadillac-branded business card with a QR code that links to their unique brochure, enabling them to take it home and access it after the event.