Cadillac Canada is changing how Canadians shop for vehicles with Cadillac Live, a hybrid personal shopper and live interactive digital showroom.
The online "made in Canada" shopping tool has been running for the past two weeks, breaking ground for being the first set-up in North America whereby you can shop in a Canada Cadillac showroom, complete with your own personal "Live Agent" to show you around.
The showroom is a converted 10,000 square foot studio. There are no salespersons, but 22 "Live Agents" are armed with portable stabilized phone gear and a wealth of knowledge on the current Cadillac models.
You start by visiting the Cadillac Live site on your phone or desktop, browse around, and either choose to see the next Free Agent, or book an appointment to go to the physical location during regular business hours. Live session hours are between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. ET, Sunday through Thursday. But the site is accessible at any time, allowing you to tour around the space, checking out the luxury cars, and building and pricing out options.
The Cadillac Live sessions have odd hours on purpose, so they can reflect today's realities for busy folks, who are often balancing both work and home obligations. "Consumers are time starved and they really want to get answers on their own terms. There is no pressure. You can spend two hours on our platform if you want, check multiple vehicles in the studio, and get answers to questions," says James Nava, National Marketing and Communications Manager, Cadillac Canada.
After making an appointment on the Cadillac Live site the night before, my session started the next evening. I simply tapped the session start notice sent to my phone. You can also receive a linked e-mail notice from the site.
Farid was my Live Agent for the session, and we started with my interest in the XT4 Crossover. Live Agents are a mix of knowledge trained hand-picked actors and Cadillac car show partners. They don't work on commission, so there's no sales pressure. But they will help set you up with a dealer for a test drive if you so desire. I couldn't stump Farid with clever questions, and enjoyed his laid back demeanor and steady live cam shooting as he walked about the XT4. He got in the front and rear passenger seats and checked out the roomy trunk. It became an evenly paced conversation, re-affirming what I liked about the XT4 while also allowing me to discover new features. If I wanted to check something out a second time, Farid was very accommodating.
Have a look at my experience below.
"We know that when a customer comes online to our site and they are looking for an answer to one of the questions and they don't find it and they leave our site, we're likely going to lose that customer," adds Nava. "Live sessions can be shared, even after having started with one customer, looping in interacting partners like significant others who are key to the buying decision. Many career parents can't find the time to shop around for major purchases."
Cadillac Live only works in Canada, but Cadillac head office recently dropped in and was impressed. "They are staying close to it," says Nava. "We have other markets around the globe that are very curious in what we are doing. This is something we can scale globally and bring to other markets as well."
After being live for two weeks, traffic levels to the site are encouraging, and it has even brought in some solid leads. "We are planning a heavy social media campaign on the company sites encouraging viewers to click directly onsite, and will also tap into our current customer base," says Nava.
He adds that Cadillac Canada is closely monitoring consumer feedback and is confident that, in six months, the program will look completely different. And change is good.
Steve Makris is a consumer technology writer who can be followed on www.techuntangled.ca