SINGAPORE: Technologies such as augmented reality and live streaming on social media have the power to disrupt the traditional automotive path to purchase, according to a senior marketer at GM.

Mark Harland, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience at General Motors, discussed this topic at the All That Matters conference in Singapore and explained that the reason for bringing innovative technologies together with customer experience was very simple: "they work together".

"The whole buying impact of the consumer journey has changed dramatically," he said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: General Motors taps augmented reality, live streaming for better customer experience.)

"The space that hasn't changed is the branding and customer experience, right down to the bottom of the funnel, the retail," he continued. "That's the space that's going to change dramatically in the short term, and we are going to use technology to bring that to all of our customers."

For example, in Indonesia, a country with extremely high social media engagement, Chevrolet held a live event to launch the Chevrolet TRAX, broadcasting a scavenger-hunt styled race via a live YouTube stream hosted by Indonesian celebrities.

Augmented reality is also set to revolutionise the automotive customer experience. Bringing augmented reality apps into the retail space, Harland pointed out, can come in handy to shift units as sales staff can demonstrate product features.

An added advantage is cost-effectiveness. One car model is enough to illustrate the full range of customisations through augmented reality.

"Think of our crowded cities," said Harland. "Be it in Delhi, be it in Shanghai, you can't afford the real estate to have a thousand cars on the lot the way you would in America. So I bring one car in, and I start to change colors, I can configure it, I can add accessories, I can change up the wheels… I can do all of that with augmented reality.

"There is no reason for me to keep millions of dollars worth of cars in the showroom or on a lot that's going to cost me tens of thousands of dollars of rental fees every month. It's really game changing."

Data sourced from Warc