Alcantara is a cutting-edge material made in Italy, which can be used to cover any shape or surface, offering unparalleled aesthetic, technical, and sensory qualities. It is often used on luxury cars due to its wide variety of colors and customization possibilities.
Alcantara wanted to display their vast line of products in a way that allowed them to customize the content depending on specific events, customers, and inventory.
Luxury owners wanted to customize their cars in a unique, unrepeatable way. While Alcantara offered a vast selection of colors and finishes, most owners tended to navigate to the most common color combinations and not explore the immense possibilities that the entire product line allowed. Authorized retailers needed a practical way to expose customers to all the options; 90% of them were virtually unknown to most customers.
We created different personas based on the research around the users. Since each customer had a different problem, they went through a different journey. We made two different journey and empathy maps for them.
We decided on a single solution that solved both customers' problems, as there was considerable overlap in their journeys.
Their goal was to make their vehicle unique and reflect their personality.
Their goal was to guide their customers through the customization process without relying on physical samples.
Create an MVP and determine if building a complete 3D multi-brand customizer was long-term worth the investment.
Increase one-on-one consultations with an expert that could take the client’s basic idea and make a sale.
Create an adaptable tool to load new brands and inventory easily.
We created a bespoke iPad app that allowed customers to select their specific car model and see visuals with different colors and patterns of the material and the color of the stitching. We initially limited the selection to 10 colors and two patterns. With four different areas to customize plus stitching, the combinations were in the thousands.
The app was fully developed, but we only created content for one brand and its lineup. We rendered two angles per model.
The user started with a blank canvas. The color selector had ten colors to choose from. The executive would then use that and cross-reference with the available materials and finishes, show the customer physical samples and finalize a design.
The app was used during branded events, so we designed it only to showcase one brand at a time. We trained brand ambassadors to assist the customers in using the app. This allowed us only to render a limited amount of images.
Customizing real cars to photograph was unrealistic due to the massive number of brands and models.
A full 3D app with real-time rendering required processing beyond the hardware capabilities to be photorealistic and in line with the brand's standards.
Digitally manipulated photographs were impractical because every single model would mean starting from scratch.
We conducted interviews and surveys to understand our customers. This proved challenging because high net-worth individuals did not participate; we only had access to customer service executives and specialized journalists.
The market segmentation was influenced by the brand of the specific car, so the segments were fluid depending on the featured brand during the event.
Two main competitors were solving the same problem:
1. Car manufacturers doing customization at the factory. This was excellent material quality, but the brands heavily drove and constrained the options.
2. Traditional leather vendors proved to be of excellent quality, but the existing processes and inventory limited the options.
There were too many options at first. Users would create for a few minutes and get overwhelmed.We solved this by having them start with a randomly generated combination.
Four different customization areas created undesirable results if the user was not color-savvy. They would use the app as a game more than a visualizer that would lead to an actual sale.We solved this by locking the areas together by default, so users would only choose 2-color combinations.
Users were choosing a minimal amount of the available materials and finishes. They would go to common combinations and get stuck there.
We solved this by generating a random combination as a starting point. The color selector only had ten colors to choose from. We also trained brand ambassadors on color theory to give valuable suggestions to customers.
Users gravitated towards exotic cars they didn't own. They were driven more by curiosity and playfulness rather than a desire to customize their own cars.
We limited the options to one brand at a time. Specifically, the brand that was featured at the event or showroom. This allowed us only to render a limited amount of images.