Car dealerships and showrooms in the UK have typically been located in easy-to-access industrial parks, a format and business model adopted from the manufacturer-run dealerships in Michigan, USA. These automotive allies were in close proximity to the factory where the cars were built. This of course was convenient for the manufacturer but customers had to drive, in some cases for hours to see and test drive cars. In more recent years we’ve seen car showrooms open inside centrally located shopping malls where a handful of cars are presented as an extension to an e-commerce proposition making it easier for customers.
Now we’re seeing brands like Porsche testing a new format in Norway, South Korea and Switzerland where they’ve opened a range of new hyper-local retail formats in residential areas. As 30% of office workers will now be home based and a large proportion of others enjoying hybrid working patterns, reaching people at home has become an important retail strategy for all sectors.
Porsche are calling their new concept, ‘Destination Porsche’, the spaces are designed to complement local surroundings; with an ocean view in Oslo and vegetation interiors on Jeju Island, South Korea. Operating as local destinations, refreshments such as tea and coffee are supplied by regional businesses, making these venues feel part of the local community. Porsche is also treating their spaces as venues that local businesses can use to host events and exhibitions – in addition to offering delivery, collection and test drives like a traditional car showroom.
We believe brands and retailers should think about their physical stores beyond transactional spaces, by expanding services beyond the showroom, brands can encourage increased dwell time while appealing to a wider range of audiences.