BMW is putting the finishing touches on a showroom overhaul in the United States with a fresh design concept. To be rolled out globally, Retail Next is going to be implemented at around 25 locations in the first phase. Within the next several years, almost a third of all stores in the US will be fully renovated.
The announcement was made by Shaun Bugbee, the man in charge of sales for BMW of North America. In his interview with Automotive News, the executive said the overhauled showrooms will have fewer cars on display. Going forward, there will be either five or six cars up on display, surrounded by high-end furniture and lounge-like seating.
Bugbee told AN the main idea behind Retail Next is to provide five-star hospitality instead of the typical car dealership experience. Fancy lighting fixtures will help BMW put the focus mainly on sedans and SUVs. The BMW exec promises “the car is the star,” adding that the core of its new showroom concept will be the product presentation.
Retail Next Will Be An “Eclectic Hotel Lobby”
Aside from adopting a new design, dealerships upgraded to Retail Next won’t have the sales adviser cubicles anymore. Indeed, salespersons will talk with prospective customers right next to the cars they’re interested in purchasing. One dealer representative that has seen the new layout says it’s an “eclectic hotel lobby” with a “warm and colorful” atmosphere.
It’s worth noting not all dealers in the US will be forced to adopt Retail Next in the coming years. Specifically, those who have already updated their showrooms to the current BMW corporate image will have 15 years to make the switch. In addition, the luxury brand will give all the freedom to choose fixtures and furniture from local suppliers. This tells us there’ll be some degree of variation from one store to another rather than all being identical.
Why is BMW making these changes? Bugbee admits the current dealership experience is not ideal.
“There’s a fundamental customer perspective that once you go in the showroom, it is an uncomfortable experience.”
Source: Automotive News