By Craig Patterson
On the evening of Thursday, March 21, Cadillac welcomed guests to a mansion on Glen Road in North Rosedale to preview a first-of-its-kind car shopping technology that could revolutionize the industry. Called ‘Cadillac Live’, the platform allows customers to connect to the brand from any device virtually while offering one-on-one human interaction.
Described as being “one part personal shopper, one part live interactive digital showroom”, the ‘Cadillac Live’ technology allows buyers to shop the brand from anywhere online. Cadillac has also transformed a 10,000-square foot Toronto film studio into an online showroom, showcasing 10 vehicles from Cadillac’s 2019 lineup.
The new Cadillac Live provides customers with one-on-one conversations with its trained live agents across any mobile or desktop device. It’s described as being a first of its kind in North America by providing online shoppers with “real human answers to their unique car-buying questions, along with access to dynamic views of the vehicles so they can explore every detail,” while speaking to a product expert via one-way video. Agents are equipped with an iPhone X, Osmo Mobile gimbal and Bluetooth headset — these allow for two-way audio and one-way live video. Live Agents are also equipped with an app interface that allows them to showcase any colour, wheel, and accessory option that a customer might be interested in.
"Today's luxury consumers are increasingly time-starved and more discerning than ever," said Hoss Hassani, managing director of Cadillac Canada. "What if someone offered an experience that combines convenience and accessibility with a high level of personalization? That's exactly what Cadillac Live is."
The way car shoppers interact with brands is changing. Cadillac says that recent data from Google shows twice as many car buyers start their research online as opposed to a physical dealership. Furthermore, in the retail sector, about 55% of online shoppers will abandon a purchase if they can't quickly find an answer to a question, and 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult.
How it works: From the cadillac.ca homepage, shoppers can choose to begin a new session with a Live Agent, view a pre-recorded session, or book a Live session at a later time or date. The tool also offers virtual tours of the Toronto Cadillac Live showroom.
Once the experience is completed, the shopper may connect with a local Cadillac dealership so they can book a test drive and take the next steps in the path to purchase.
While physical car showrooms have limited hours, the Cadillac Live initiative provides consumers the opportunity to ‘visit’ during off-hours, and customers can book a Cadillac Live session for a later time or date. Hours are 6pm-2am Sunday-through Thursday, with eight ambassadors available. Those waiting for their scheduled appointment can explore the Toronto lounge in 3D using Matterport technology, or view a series of pre-recorded sessions in the Cadillac Live space. One thing to note: while the experience is online, the purchase of a vehicle must be done in a showroom, differentiating this from Tesla and Genesis Motors which allows vehicle purchases online.
Cadillac says that it chose Toronto to launch the first-of-its kind initiative, given the city’s rapidly growing tech industry. If the concept takes off, Cadillac will be able to scale the initiative quickly by expanding its Toronto operations.
Cadillac held upscale media events in Toronto and Vancouver for the launch of Cadillac Live. The Toronto presentation was in a North Rosedale mansion that is currently for sale at 106 Glen Road — the impressive ravine-facing property is asking $12-million. The Vancouver event was held the same evening at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd. Email Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org