University of Salzburg enters into research cooperation with Porsche Holding Salzburg 

Designing a unique customer experience

The automotive industry goes through changes. The consumer behaviour is constantly changing due to new digital opportunities. In this project, an interdisciplinary researcher team, led by Prof. Dr. Manfred Tscheligi, from the Center for Human-Computer Interaction and from the Department Chemistry and Physics of Materials, given support by qualified people from Porsche Holding Salzburg, are to investigate and develop new possibilities of digital enhancements of a traditional showrooms. On May 30th the pioneering cooperation contract was signed by Alain Favey, Porsche Holding Salzburg CEO, Professor Dr. Heinrich Schmidinger, President of the University of Salzburg, and Professor Dr. Manfred Tscheligi, Head of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). The event was also attended by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Porsche Holding Salzburg, Chairman of the Board.

Two research topics

What will the showroom of the future look like? Is it possible to optimize the car buying experience and its processes by digital means? Launched earlier this year, and running until the end of 2017, the research cooperation is to answer these and other questions. Research focus is put on two topics: First all fields where there is customer contact will be analysed, and potentials will be identified. Second there will be studies on how to support Porsche Holding sales and service teams best with interactive tools such as Tablet PCs. Three Porsche Inter Auto dealer locations will participate in this test project. “When it comes to highly complex products such as vehicles, solely digital shopping using online shops for instance, will remain an exception also in the near future. The research project therefore concentrates on the special added value of a shopping experience in the showroom by enhancing interaction with the physical and sensory attributes of the product with digital content. Only when the physical attributes of real vehicles are perfectly combined with the digital ones, we can offer customers a seamless shopping experience”, says Prof. Manfred Tscheligi, explaining the need of showrooms for customers.

The concept of a joint lab shows new perspectives and allows a fresh approach to the interaction-context showroom and the purchase of cars. The Automotive Retail Lab aims at developing a future-oriented, holistic shopping experience, turnig the showroom into an interactive place. To combine digital information with physical objects, novel materials with unique qualities will be subject to the reserach in this project. Basis to this innovations are the physical nature of the show- and presentation rooms, the interaction between salesperson and (potential) customer as well as the enhancement and merging with digital interaction.

Further information: hci.sbg.ac.at/sites/automotive-retail-lab-en/

Contact: Martin Murer