Dubai, UAE: To strongly position itself as a frontrunner in the UAE’s fast-expanding ‘experiential economy’, Al-Futtaim Automotive has announced the launch of a one-of-its-kind immersive and interactive virtual showroom.The dynamic new virtual showroom unlocks possibilities to remodel the automotive retail experience. Customers wear a VR headset and are instantly transported into a lifelike, incredibly spacious virtual showroom displaying a variety of models. Through the power of digital, Al-Futtaim Automotive has shown that it’s possible to give customers a large showroom experience, without the need for heavy real-estate investment or operation costs, while keeping the experience edgy and innovative for customers.The game-changing virtual showroom has been developed in collaboration with Verse Estate, a leading Dubai-based VR-technology company producing the most photorealistic, high-impact virtual and metaverse solutions. Al-Futtaim Automotive has named Verse Estate as their ‘Phygital Experience Partner’ with a commitment to driving innovative mobility experiences into the future.Everything customers want in an automotive showroom, made virtually real The immersive, 3D digital environment of the virtual showroom can be experienced through VR-glasses, making it incredibly easy to install the virtual showroom at multiple locations. Inside the virtual showroom, customers immerse in an engagingly real automotive buying experience by surveying the entire virtual space, seeing all the models displayed inside and out, exploring each car’s details and features and even going to the extent of customising the car on display to a certain extent.The immersive platform revolutionises the car shopping experience, by empowering customers to explore, engage and book their car, setting a new standard for interactive e-commerce.Currently, Al-Futtaim Automotive has launched the virtual showroom for BYD, the world’s top-selling New Energy Vehicle (NEV) brand. The innovative new launch is built on the two core pillars of Al-Futtaim Automotive’s business strategy: Customer Centricity and Digitalisation. Commenting on the launch, Katib Belkhodja, Director of Customer Centricity, Al-Futtaim Automotive, said, " As automotive market leaders, we already have a formidable presence with a wide network of showrooms. To add to that, we have launched e-commerce platforms with a seamless end-to-end purchase journey, and developed a strong digital ecosystem that helps us get accurate, personalised insights on what the customer is looking for. The immersive showroom was the next big move and has become an essential piece of our digital ecosystem. Moreover, it’s a tangible illustration of our promise of always keeping customers at the forefront of our business. Now we don’t need to wait for the customers to come to our showroom, but rather we can take the showroom to our customers wherever they are, and this is planned with multiple roadshows with our BYD virtual showroom this year.”Nabil Bouali, Co-Founder, Verse Estate, commented, “The adoption of virtual, immersive and metaverse solutions is no longer confined to tech-sector focused enterprises, and this is clearly demonstrated in the exciting initiative launched from an industry leader like Al-Futtaim Automotive. Developing their BYD Virtual Showroom has been a remarkable journey, and we are proud to create this industry benchmark for other brands to follow. It’s an opportunity to reshape automotive experiences and engage with each and every customer on a new level – and we are honoured to be their Phygital Experience Partner.”Where automotive & tech enthusiasts can experience the virtual showroom UAE citizens can explore the groundbreaking BYD Virtual Showroom installed in the new flagship BYD Showroom & Discovery Center, located at Dubai Festival City, as well as at the Al-Futtaim Stand at COP28 Green Zone (Stand Number 80, Technology & Innovation Hub, Green Zone), from 30 November to 12 December 2023, Expo City Dubai. Al-Futtaim Group has been appointed the Strategic E-Mobility Partner of COP28.By building a new showroom using virtual technology, Al-Futtaim is also taking a step towards minimising the environmental impact seen in traditional brick-and-mortar showrooms, underscoring the Group’s commitment to sustainability across its value chain.As the next chapter of revolutionising the automotive customer experience, Al-Futtaim Automotive plans to launch the virtual showroom online, giving website visitors a chance to immerse themselves in an innovative, highly-engaging showroom journey from the convenience of their desktops.Experiential economy boom led by a strong customer demand & UAE digitalisation agendaWith one of the highest technology adoption rates worldwide, UAE’s customers have a strong affinity for innovative, digital-led experiences from brands. Salesforce’s ‘State of the Connected Customer Report’ 2023 states that 83% of UAE customers say that the experience a brand provides is as important as its products and services. Dubai is heavily vested in the experiential economy with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy aiming to position Dubai among the world’s top 10 metaverse economies. The UAE’s metaverse market is expected to grow exponentially with a cumulative growth rate of 28% per year.Al-Futtaim Automotive’s virtual showroom is well-placed within the city’s dynamic tech & business landscape, and in addressing the growing need for more innovative, immersive experiences from UAE customers. About Al-Futtaim AutomotiveAl-Futtaim Automotive, one of the main five operating divisions within the UAE-based Al-Futtaim Group of companies, is a conglomerate of motoring-related businesses, franchising some of the world’s most-recognized automotive brands and services.Operating in 10 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa and empowered by around 9,000 associates, the UAE-headquartered Group’s services span across distribution of new and used vehicles, manufacturing, leasing, and aftersales.Ranging from passenger cars to SUVs, commercial vehicles, industrial and construction equipment as well as motorbikes and quads, Al-Futtaim Automotive Group offers an integrative customer-centric experience for motorists, fleet operators and contractors alike, and strives to become the leader in tailor-made mobility solutions.