When you enter a car dealership, you walk from one vehicle to the next. There is a large selection, but you only see a fraction of the entire product range. Now what if you could see additional models with a simple swipe of your finger, as if you were browsing a dating app? Each gesture brings up a new car suggestion that is an even better match for your preferences. And in just a few steps, you will have found your dream car.
That is just one possible vision of how we will configure cars in the future. Together with Mercedes-Benz, strategy consultant Berylls and the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems, we are working on making that vision reality – with the Lifestyle Configurator. Basically, it works like this: the customer makes choices from various realms of experience reflecting their style – from travel destinations, to arts and recreation, or the preferred working environment. The Configurator then suggests a vehicle based on these choices. This is an entirely new approach in a sector with colossal product assortments, countless choices and traditional car configurators with their endless questions and sliders.
Mercedes-Benz has had an enormous impact on NOLTE&LAUTH over the years with its high standards and philosophy of excellence – in other words, nothing but the best.
Our contribution: extensive experience in the development of configurators, vast expertise in the area of user experience and a number of interfaces and services we have already developed. That includes the NL Image Proxy, which makes use of the existing supply systems in operation at Mercedes-Benz and delivers the matching vehicle visualization for the desired application.
The learning algorithm developed by the Fraunhofer Institute is the driving force behind the Lifestyle Configurator. It collects data and transforms it into information from which conclusions can be drawn. With each new user, the suggestions generated are further improved and refined.
Not only does the algorithm learn – so do we. Like many large projects, the Lifestyle Configurator also underwent a development process. Originally targeted at the female demographic, it quickly became clear that this new approach is effective for targeting both genders. The extensive range of questions was cut down with each new iteration of the algorithm, at the same time resulting in more and more precise results.
The current version is only the first step toward a completely new form of dialogue between brand and user. A new way to find the right car – while also experiencing the company’s values first-hand: innovation, quality, customer service.
We are currently working together with our partners to intensify and refine the interaction between man and machine. User experience will undergo a major transformation. For example, scaling for mobile devices requires the addition of touch gestures while also eliminating certain control components. By conducting user tests on an ongoing basis, we are always gathering new, useful input. We are applying the model to other European and international markets, while always taking their unique cultural and economic characteristics into consideration. One particular highlight is the integration of direct, intelligent feedback. You can read all about it soon on our blog!
Together with the customer, we are taking a step in a completely new direction. We continue to learn and to evolve – something that is true for the product as well as for our customer, Mercedes-Benz, which here demonstrates why it is renowned as a pioneer in the automotive industry. This also applies to NOLTE&LAUTH and all of our employees, each of whom is expected to take their expertise to another level to create something completely new and unique. And it is exactly the expertise that each individual brings to the table that benefits us, along with the processes, standards and technologies we have established for our company.
Building on this common foundation, we create a product with enormous potential for innovation – the blueprint for future dialogue between the brand and the individual customer.