Posted Jul 18th 2012 11:30AM
When BMW recently opened a store on Paris' Avenue George V, that was first and foremost a retail play that offers interaction with its cars. Audi has just opened Audi City, a metropolis cyberstore in London, and gone the other way: this is where you go to buy a car as if you were shopping in a Regent Street or Saville Row boutique, with some retail bits thrown in.
Shoppers won't peruse windows, but the digital powerwall with a Microsoft-Kinect-like interface for building the Audi of your choice in 1:1 scale and with every option represented. Audi says it is complementing its dealer network with a corporate-run presence in the city – so-called 'Customer Relationship Managers' can be a shopper's point of contact should they wish to buy a car on the spot. There will be at least 20 more Audi Cities opening in world hotspots by 2015.
Check out the video to see how it works and have a look at the press release.
Audi City: The metropolis cyberstore opens its doors
- First digital Audi showroom opens in the centre of London
- Sales chief Schwarzenbauer: "Visitors can expect a previously unheard-of level of personal customer service."
- More than 20 locations in major international cities by 2015
Ingolstadt/London, 2012-07-16 -- Audi is preparing automotive retail for the future and complementing its dealer network with a new format – Audi City. The first location opens today in London close to Piccadilly Circus. The brand's entire model line-up is presented fully digitally in a compact space. The efficient use of space facilitated by this approach allows the four rings to be present in the heart of major international cities. Over the next few years, Audi will secure more of these attractive locations, opening more than 20 stores worldwide by 2015. In future, Audi City will also play a crucial role in the marketing of new mobility services and electric-drive Audi models.
"Audi City combines the best of two worlds – digital product presentation and personal contact with the dealer," says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG. "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. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer."
Thanks to groundbreaking media technology, the vehicle manufacturer now has the ability not only to present its growing model line-up – including all colours, equipment options and functions – in its entirety, but also to offer customers the chance to experience the sheer breadth of the range in full. Visitors can digitally select their vehicle from several hundred million possible configurations and experience it in realistic 1:1 scale on screens that almost fill the entire space. Moreover, technical details such as the drivetrain, bodyshell or LED light technology can be presented individually in order to make innovations understandable on an intuitive level.
With Audi City, the premium manufacturer is responding to customers' changing needs. "People are placing greater emphasis than ever before on a direct and personal bond of trust with their vehicle brand – especially in respect of the increasing variety of products and available information," explains Schwarzenbauer. "Thus, with Audi City, we are creating a one-stop-shop for experiencing our brand. It is right in the midst of our customers' lives, yet seamlessly connected to the online range offered by the four rings."
This is particularly assured by the Customer Relationship Manager, who will be deployed in future at Audi City locations. This individual will be the customer's central and consistent point of contact for all needs – from the first consultation to after-sales and ongoing services. Plus, every Audi City is also connected to an Audi dealership that provides the entire spectrum of AUDI AG services as a single-point centre of competence.
With this highly personalized customer dialogue and the provision of individual services, Audi City represents a substantial expansion of the retail experience. In support of this, AUDI AG offers employee training targeted specifically at these urban stores and also supports the dealer in their selection and further training. Furthermore, employees increasingly have a more broad-based educational background – as IT experts, for instance, who are qualified to explain the digital world of Audi City.
Their central urban location makes each Audi City more than simply an additional retail outlet. Audi City will also evolve into a meeting place for fans of the brand, where they can make contact with the world of the four rings whenever they want. The stores will also be used as a dialogue forum for issues outside of core automotive business. For example, following close of daily business, they will play host to readings, round-table discussions and exhibitions on issues such as urban development and mobility or on matters relating to art, culture and design.