Excite Car Buyers With a Virtual Test Drive

Written By AE Staff

It's time to drive the thing!

With more and more shoppers wanting to complete much of the car buying process online, how do you best build on the emotion of getting a new car? How do you convey the vehicle in a way the digital customer can get a feel for it in action before they come into your showroom?

Three words: Virtual test drive.

No, we aren't talking about autonomous vehicles or autonomous driving. We're talking about a virtual test drive created for different models to generate excitement for a customer on their buying journey.

A Virtual Test Drive for the Modern Car Dealership

Your website is undoubtedly one of the stops a customer makes when shopping around for cars in this modern car shopping market environment. With a busy life, and a range of vehicles to shop for, the contemporary car shopper is a browser to the highest degree. According to Cox Automotive

“Time spent online shopping and researching vehicles increased by more than 1 hour compared to 2021, while time at the dealership increased by approximately 20 minutes.”

Consumers explore your dealership among many others in the hope of finding the best deal, or customer experience. They hop from site to site seeking out the car that best suits their needs and personality. Along the way, they have an enjoyable experience. Or don't. 

It's imperative to engage shoppers on your site to gain their attention and, ideally, their business! A virtual test drive can be just what the doctor ordered in terms of delivering the right experience at the right time during their customer journey.

The Modern Car Shopper Exists in Many Different Virtual Environments

With so many different touch points of technology available, customers exist in and prefer to shop in an omnichannel world.

Nothing affirms the buying decision better than a physical test drive. Sitting in the seats, feeling the wheel, and experiencing the features firsthand; all of this is key for the customer to make their ultimate choice.

A virtual test drive can help drivers get a jump start on deciding on their possible future vehicle and help them think about features that matter most to them. Visualizing themselves in the vehicle preps them for the physical test drive in a positive way. 

Car manufacturers have been providing visual overviews of their vehicles for years with car commercials, and now car dealers can provide this visual aid while customers are actively looking over options on their websites.

3 Benefits of a Virtual Test Drive

1. Highlight key details of the vehicle in greater visual detail.

A great virtual test drive will not only show the vehicle in motion, but it will also list key and attractive features during the course of the video. This helps paint a clearer picture for the customer and gives them ideas of what to expect.

A virtual test drive can also provide an interior overview and provide an example of what they could visually experience behind the wheel.

2. Saving time and valuing the safety of customers.

Since the pandemic, customers value the ability to complete errands from the house. The less time spent on top of whatever financing paperwork has to get done, the better. Your patience in this regard may get rewarded for chopping some time off of their visit, as the financing process has been known to be somewhat confusing and overwhelming for some customers.

Time in the dealership has always been a point of dissatisfaction for consumers. Yet we know part of that time is due to the uncertainty of the shopper. A virtual test drive can clarify the customer's preferences and wish list. 

With varying health concerns, some people still value little physical connectivity, and still hold safety in high regard. Virtual test drive technology can help these customers feel some control in a process that can sometimes feel pressured or stressful.

Some elements of test drive simulation can help those that have dealership anxiety still get excited about their potential vehicle.

3. Give the buyer confidence.

Not many people like to buy products from a company sight unseen, least of all a vehicle. A virtual test drive video can instill confidence in car buyers who want a better idea of a vehicle in action. They can picture themselves driving it, and see the dream come alive!

Not to mention, the power of video marketing cannot be denied. According to a study by Wyzowl that includes buyer sentiment data from 2023: "89% of people say watching a video has convinced them to buy a product or service." 

That is not an insignificant amount of customers driven to buy after watching a video!

The Power of a Virtual Test Drive and Dealer Live Chat

ActivEngage has tapped into the power of virtual test drives with MyDrive; a shareable virtual test drive and a visual overview of vehicles and their features. This technology helps further engage curious car buyers on your website and pushes them towards the path to purchase.

We've also gleaned a significant statistic from our MyDrive product:

87% of shoppers that have chatted in watched a MyDrive video when presented with one! 

Live chat on a car dealership website serves to capture fleeting opportunities; customers that are hopping from site to site in order to find their specific car and the right price. A virtual test drive adds more holistic engagement to further affirm a customer's willingness to work with you.

Deliver a Virtual Test Drive with ActivEngage

Deliver the power of a virtual test drive and video overview with ActivEngage's messing options!


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?