Configure virtually– experience everywhere. That’s the new Mercedes cAR app, which has been successful on the market since its launch in April 2018. Would you like to comfortably view all of the vehicle models from your couch and then let your dream car immediately appear in your garage? The new app with augmented reality makes it possible and turns this process into an enjoyable 3D experience for all users. Marie Struck, 27, has been helping to develop the app ever since the idea was born.
Hello! Please briefly introduce yourself.
Struck:: In 2010, I moved to Berlin to start a work-study program in International Business Administration at Daimler Financial Services AG. After earning my degree, I joined Mercedes-Benz’ German sales organization, where I worked as part of the marketing program team for four years. I’ve been in the Product Management department at Mercedes-Benz Cars for slightly over six months. The development of the Mercedes cAR app — the “AR” stands for augmented reality — is thereby my “professional hobby”.
What exactly do you mean by “professional hobby”?
It means that we manage and refine the app during working hours, besides doing our regular jobs. We — Sarah, Andreas, Oliver, and I — have known each other for several years. We got back together in 2016 in order to take part in an in-house idea competition. The company searched for ideas that help create the best customer experience at Mercedes-Benz. In response, we established a task force and the four of us are now working on the Mercedes cAR app. We ran a pilot project for one-and-a-half years during which we collected customer feedback and learned how users deal with augmented reality. These findings served as the basis for the development of the Mercedes cAR app. We have faith in the idea and we love working on Mercedes cAR during our “free time,” which is whenever there is less going on in the office. Our regular jobs take priority, of course, which is why we have to be able to fully rely on one another. If someone is too busy with his or her normal job, the others will help out!
What exactly does the Mercedes cAR app do?
The Mercedes cAR app depicts our vehicles in outstanding 3D quality and uses a technology that delights its users: augmented reality. The app enables users to put together their dream car wherever they want to. They can also find out about optional equipment and then simply dive into the online configurator. An especially cool feature is that you can also drive the car through the room. We have thus developed the first app that is seamlessly integrated into the customer journey at Mercedes-Benz.
Which users is it intended for?
Its main aim is to get customers enthusiastic about our products. However, the app can also greatly benefit salespeople. For example, they can use the app to visualize our vehicles in a completely new way. Ideally, Mercedes cAR will thus help to sell vehicles.
Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work for the Mercedes cAR app. What is the composition of the team and what’s exciting about it?
The four of us come from vastly different departments, such as marketing, IT, and product management. We don’t have any hierarchies and everyone has specific tasks for which they are particularly responsible. In my case it’s the 3D models and the organizational measures that run in the background. We make all decisions together and it’s a bit like working in a swarm.
Does the double burden of having a regular job and working on Mercedes cAR leave you enough leisure time?
We love to spend time with the app and everyone gladly does the additional work. We are all committed to the idea, really enjoy working on it and the positive feedback motivates us! We are a very good team because we all work toward one common goal. We readily help each other out so that nobody’s burden becomes too great.
The app has been online since end of April. Where will things go from here?
We’re already working on a roll-out in additional countries and plan to incorporate more model series by the end of this year. In early 2019, we will add a special highlight to the app. However, I won’t reveal yet what it will be – so it’s definitely worthwhile to download the app!
How do you think Mercedes cAR will help to make Daimler even more future-focused?
We used a future-oriented technology, augmented reality, for Mercedes cAR. This makes us one of the world’s first automakers to launch an AR app on the market. I think that this future-oriented approach enables us to further improve the customer experience.
What kind of people are you looking for the most in your field?
We are looking for creative minds who can think outside the box and aren’t afraid of work. There’s always a lot of work to do — the important thing is that you keep on enjoying it!