BMW is on a mission to win back its customers from third parties after losing trust.
BMW North America opened its first pop-up store in California during last year. It was done quietly, without the usual glitz and glamor of new programs. It showcased one of its models for a period of four months by using large flat screens, a merchandise boutique and neon lights. BMW would not have considered this a few years ago, but competition from rivals such as Tesla has prompted this action. BMW hopes to lure back its customers from online shopping sites to its stores.
BMW is following in the footsteps of the Apple stores and would like to see all its 339 dealers in the US making use of pop-ups by 2019. This program will cost dealers around $500m in total.
The pop-up at the South Coast Plaza mall in Costa Mesa gave people an idea of the workings of the programs. There were no actual car sales, but shoppers were given the opportunity to register with five local dealers to arrange a test drive. In excess of 100000 people visited the store, with 2400 going to the store on its peak day.
The general manager of Irvine BMW, which was one of the first stores to participate, said the pop-up was of great help in his store reaching record sales for November and December. A special edition 5-series sedan was housed in the pop-up during the Black Friday weekend and the model sold out.
The five dealerships are set to showcase another pop-up store at the same mall during June, but will house more than a single car. It provides potential customers with the opportunity to view the model and have a convenient test drive close to home.
BMW is intent on boosting their brand image by updating or rebuilding 22 dealerships over the next three years. A further 147 letters of intent have also been signed. Stores will place emphasis on natural light, glass and open spaces, with a white exterior and cars being displayed in what will be called the ‘driving gallery’. The stores will include large display screens advertising specific models and messages.
According to Joe Laham, the owner of BMW of Cape Cod in Hyannis, Mass., he is expecting an increase in new vehicles sales to 500 during this year. Previously, this franchise sold about 90 vehicles per annum. He said the ambiance at his dealership, wh ere he serves fruit-infused water, is immaculate and potential clients should feel like they are entering a luxury hotel.
BMW is set to initiate new programs, such as client vehicle pickup and delivery and a bid to decrease the sales process from four and a half hours to one hour. Around 3000 senior dealership leaders have undergone its Modern Luxury training program.
The focus is on changing the old school method of sales wh ere you are pounced on by five people as soon as you enter the door.
17 APRIL 2015, USA