Brand Focus

Retail Innovation Factfile: Audi City

Retail Innovation Factfile: What is Audi City?

Audi City is one of the world’s first digital car showrooms. At 650 square meters, it is around a fifth of the size of a conventional car showroom. The space opened in 2012 and is joined by other Audi digital showrooms in Berlin and Beijing.

Normally, only four cars are on display – the rest of the range can be viewed and personalised via digital touchscreens. With 14 model ranges, up to eight models available per range, and a myriad of exterior and interior options, more than 3.5 million combinations are on offer.

Customers can design their own car, choosing options using the touchscreen interface or by scanning QR-enabled in-store swatches. To get a better sense of their design, customers can display their car at almost life-size on Audi’s floor-to-ceiling screens. The car can be rotated, its interior viewed in detail, and its engine and chassis displayed. The car can also be shown driving around the screen, featuring rich sound recordings captured from that precise model. The high-definition sound and visuals helps create desire for the product, which has vastly more influence over users’ decisions than logic.

The customer can request a glossy brochure of their design to be printed instantly in the space. This features wide views and close-ups of their design, along with its spec and price. A unique code is also created for the design, enabling the customer to continue to modify their design, either online from home or the next time they come into the store.

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Retail innovation factfile: Why is Audi City worth visiting?

The compact space enables the brand to occupy premium real estate in some of the world’s highest-footfall areas. This makes it much more convenient for customers to drop in, learn more about the cars and start to consider a purchase.

The space is designed to begin the customer journey – if customers want to test drive a car, they can book a session at their local Audi dealer, or wait an hour or so for a relevant model to be brought over from its larger showroom in west London. Although customers can buy in the space, Audi City is designed more as one component of a continuing customer journey that may involve Audi’s website and other dealerships.

The space welcomes everyone – tourists and young boys are as welcome to design their own car on the screens as high-flying executives. The brand takes the long-term view – by giving today’s visitors a positive brand experience, the space could turn them into Audi’s main customers five to twenty years from now.

Retail innovation factfile: Key Trends

  • In-store technology
  • Relationships before instant sales

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Image credits: monsieur paradis