By Staff Writer
Evolving customer needs and expectations are a challenge facing all retail sectors. As part of its retail strategy the BMW Group SA is implementing a comprehensive new programme called Future Retail in all its BMW and MINI dealerships over the next two-years.
Future Retail comprises of a range of retail initiatives and tools designed to enhance a BMW customer’s premium retail experience.
With Future Retail, the BMW Group aims to:
- Increase the number of possible customer contact points;
- Expand the services and benefits offered through retail channels;
- Enhance the retail experience at dealerships and through initiatives like pop up stores;
- The dealer will play an even bigger role with an increased number of contact points.
“Consumer habits are changing, the way people want to buy products has evolved. Customers use multiple information and communication channels and have transparent access to information via the internet and social media. They are therefore much better informed at first contact with the dealer. They also get in touch with the product earlier and as a result of their experiences in other industries they also expect a highly emotional, personal and communicative brand experience across multiple channels. The BMW Group’s response to these challenges is Future Retail,” says Tim Abbott, MD of the BMW Group SA.
Future Retail was launched in conjunction with BMW i earlier this year, in the four selected BMW i dealerships:
- Club Motors Fountains
- Sandton Auto
- SMG Cape Town
“Customers who visit the four pilot dealerships will be introduced to new elements like visible new brand architecture, newly designed and reconfigured showroom floors, IT guided product presentations and the BMW or MINI Genius, whose role is to explain the products in detail to the customer without the pressure of making a sale. Future Retail means that we have to think and act uncompromisingly from the customer’s perspective,” says Oliver Buchner, General Manager, Sales Channel Development.
Future Retail has already been successfully launched in a number of international markets, it was developed in close alignment with the dealer organization and its partners worldwide.
“We not only critically reviewed our internal processes and customer feedback, but also researched customer expectations of premium retail experience through an intensive focus group programme in North America, Europe and Asia. Moreover, we benchmarked the key customer touch points with leading premium brands which excel in the field of retail experience,” says Abbott.
Since implementation, Future Retail has received positive reviews from customers who have visited the four BMW i dealerships.
Plans are in place to roll out the programme throughout the remaining BMW and MINI dealerships in SA.