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Car Promotions

Shopping Destinations helping to drive car retail

As car brands start to experiment with alternatives to the traditional dealership, a new way of interacting with car retailers could soon be as much a fixture at your local shopping centre as John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Many car retailers are looking at taking space at the local shopping centre, retail park, supermarket or garden centre either in the mall or car park to capture the imagination and create interaction with the shopping public.

In the last few years, SEAT, Hyundai and Jaguar Land Rover have all launched car retail stores at major shopping centres, while Ford’s five-car store dealership shares retail space with the Next store at Manchester’s Arndale Centre.

Our experience of working with both retail venues and car dealerships confirms that the trend for taking space at a venue or a pop-up showroom at prime retail sites is set to grow even further over the next few years.

As opportunities are created and new ways of promoting are driven by the changing retail landscape, retail venues are becoming more accessible than ever to automotive brands. It’s easy to see why these mutually beneficial partnerships are proving so successful – with automotive brands offering diversity to the venue by adding to the broad mix of tenants and car retailers capitalising on the guaranteed footfall.

Reaching new Audiences

By bringing a whole new level of experiences that genuinely appeal to retail visitors, instead of adopting the hard sell approach, automotive brands are able to get closer to potential customers in a relaxed environment. Retail venues benefit too as the visitor experience is enhanced with interactive activities and pop-up showrooms that can increase dwell time and help boost retail performance.

As far as car retailers are concerned, the benefits of being in a retail environment are huge. Shopping centre visitors offer a very different demographic to those who are likely to visit a car dealership, which gives dealers an opportunity to engage directly with potential customers who may not have previously considered the brand.

8 in 10 car buying decisions are influenced by women, yet recent research reveals that the traditional car dealership doesn’t appeal to the female audience. Studies also show that younger car buyers are often intimidated by the experience of visiting a car showroom.

Porsche, for example, created a pop-up store at the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford to help launch its ‘Drive a Porsche’ initiative. While the store was not designed to sell cars direct to customers, it did have a selection of models on display to show shoppers how easily a Porsche could fit into their lifestyle. The store also offered a unique AR experience and a range of merchandise, as well as an opportunity to experience driving a Porsche for the weekend.

Creating brand experiences at retail venues, which are already attracting the right target audience, can really help car dealers to reach potential new customers as they go about their everyday shopping. The retail environment is much more informal than a car dealership and many retail venues also have a longer trading hours, which helps makes car brands much more accessible for consumers.

Engagement Strategy

While there is still a place for the traditional automotive retail model of driving consumers into a car dealership, it’s encouraging to see the industry is moving with the times, exploring new and innovative ways to attract customers.

Many car dealerships have seen the value of getting closer to their customers by promoting in parking spaces at the local retail park or Morrisons store for instance and see this as an important part of their engagement strategy. Some may now be looking at those engagements with the thought of taking it a step further to a more permanent pop-up location.

As a business that works with both retail venues and car dealerships to facilitate marketing and promotional activities that are mutually beneficial, we predict that many more car brands will be sitting next to, or in, our favourite high street stores in the future. Customers that have been shopping for a pair of shoes and gone home with a whole new outfit, may well just end up buying the car to go with it as well next time.

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