LAS VEGAS — Fiat has brought the car shopping journey to the Metaverse.
The brand debuted the Fiat Metaverse Store in Italy in December, giving consumers the opportunity to configure vehicles in a virtual showroom and purchase them on the spot.
The experience has a “human connection,” said Olivier François, the brand’s CEO, as the process is managed by real product experts rather than artificial intelligence.
Fiat plans to roll out Metaverse showrooms in France, Germany and the UK in early 2023.
François said the store’s expert, known as a Fiat product genius, was inspired by Apple. This tech company uses the nickname Genius for its store employees who provide technical support and advice to customers.
Fiat Product Genius answers questions about issues such as vehicle charging. Fiat looked for young tech-minded candidates to become geniuses.
The Metaverse store is this week, CES Technology Conference.
“They are highly trained, so we expect the quality of the experience to improve. [and] Highly specialized,” said François car news“This is why we have humans and not avatars.”
Fiat says the store was developed in collaboration with Touchcast and Microsoft. Touchcast’s Metaverse-as-a-Service platform is built on the Microsoft Cloud, allowing customers to access the Metaverse without needing his VR headset, avatar or specialized hardware.
This experience will also serve as a bridge to actual stores. After learning about the product at the Metaverse showroom, shoppers can set up a test drive at a store near them.
Francois said the store was “developed by Fiat for Fiat,” but the technology is available to other Stellantis brands if they want to use it. However, François said Fiat is best suited for this kind of set-up due to its simple line-up. François said a more complex product range with many customization options and more expensive models could increase the need for someone to head to the dealer.
Laurent Diotto, senior vice president of global marketing and communications for Fiat and Abarth, said Fiat wanted to offer a service that was “very simple and accessible to everyone.” “Clicking on the link is as easy as suddenly being transported to the Fiat Metaverse showroom. I think that was our intention and we delivered.”