German car retailer Audi is set to unveil the first of its planned 20 Audi City concept stores as it opens its doors in London today.
Promising a fully multichannel experience, the store offers any passerby wishing to browse the 36 models on offer the chance to do so via four multi-touch tables and two screens installed within the new showroom.
Customers are given access to a wide range of options via the online database including 3.5 million different versions of the V3 to create their own bespoke car suiting individual needs and tastes.
Using a body movement sensitive pad on the floor, a camera overhead will be alerted to open up a menu onto one of the floor-to-ceiling screens, showing all the cars available to purchase in its dealership.
Downstairs, visitors are then led to a more dedicated service in one of the private area rooms where they can touch or feel the sample interiors before any commitment to buy.
This idea for a new format of customer service is based on the fact that 90 per cent of automobile consumers will make a final purchase decision through the internet, according to Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at Audi AG.
A future mobile phone application has not been ruled out by the brand, Schwarzenbauer explained.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Technology in store has been designed exclusively for Audi with computer operated intelligence creating a mood board based on a customer’s options, which can then be linked to Twitter and Facebook allowing the shopper to converse with family and friends.
The London-based store opens ahead of a further roll out, which will see the brand open 20 stores in different cities around the world by 2015.
A store in Beijing is already under construction with a planned launch by the end of the year and Schwarzenbauer explained at this morning’s launch that the London store’s timely opening was no coincidence.
“The Audi City concept is ideal timing with the Olympic Games as London will see a million visitors,” he said.
“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.
“Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer.”