Audi City: Car Showroom of the Future

Audi is officially embracing the power of digital!

The first brand to have opened a digital showroom in automotive sector and defining the digital car showrooms of the future. Their attempt to revolutionize the shopper marketing arena and making consumers experience the brand digitally in store has called for a big investment in the time of recession today. Even though Audi is doing well in a few markets, it is not really the best time for such a heavy investment. Or may be it is! Trying out a new interactive and exciting way to get people in the store, why not?

The Audi City Digital Showroom, launched in London’s Piccadilly Circus, does not display actual cars but uses digital presentations to present the car. How Minority Report is that? 🙂

One reason going around in the press for coming up with such a concept is the complaint regarding the lack of space to accommodate the Audi range under one roof. Playing on this, Audi plans to launch 20 more digital showrooms in the coming two to three years time.

How it works

Huge screens display the cars interior and exterior and also allows customers to listen to the sounds of exhaust and opening and shutting of doors as well. The store also has paint, wood and leather samples which can be viewed and touched in person. Customers can also arrange a test drive at the dealership.

Not just that, the huge digital walls are also controlled by tablets on which customers can create a car and view their configuration of the big digital screens.

According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, AUDI AG member of the board of management for marketing and sales , “Audi City combines the best of two worlds – digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer. This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers – geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship.

Future of Retail

Such a concept hints at the future of retail in markets where space is an issue in areas where customers are present. Opening such showrooms in shopping malls can be a huge success in developing markets like China and India where malls are coming up every other day and there are issues regarding space. Plus, it also allows the brand to test new markets where they don’t want to launch 20 or so dealerships and can just launch such a store and see how the market/region develops for Audi. It also helps to cut down many costs of vehicle maintenance in the showrooms and resourcing.

I really like the concept and looking forward to hear more about the results from Audi on sales, customer response and pros and cons for both dealers and customers.

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