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. One of those locations will be BMW’s flagship corporate store in Manhattan, New York.
Retail Next is not only a design overhaul of the dealer’s interior space, but also a new concept and ideas around the ordering process of a BMW. Going forward, there will be either five or six cars up on display, surrounded by high-end furniture and lounge-like seating. Think of your future BMW dealership as a chic and luxurious boutique hotel with five or six cars up on display, surrounded by high-end furniture and lounge-like seating.
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. And this is the topic we touched on today with Pieter Nota, BMW Board Member in charge of sales and marketing.
According to Nota, Retail Next has been in works prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was accelerated by the customer’s response to the new norm when it comes to ordering a BMW car or SUV. While European customers have been accustomed to ordering the spec of their dreams and waiting weeks or even months for the car to arrive, U.S. BMW customers were attracted by the instant gratification of picking up a dealer-specced car from the lot. This is why we often end up with mostly white, black or grey BMWs.
Nota noticed a change in customer’s behavior on this side of the pond in the last few years. Future BMW owners are now willing to order the car with the right features, options and colors, despite the production having long lead times. Of course, this will also help BMW’s supply chain as build-to-order processes are far easier to manage than build-to-stock.
Cars.com ran a survey last year and 41 percent of the people said they plan to have a vehicle built to order next time. So according to BMW, the way you shop for your car might change in the future, hence the Retail Next initiative.