The future of Retail: Audi City

During the month of November, I attended Service Design Camp in Berlin, Germany. This well designed event for Service and Experience designers from around the World featured an “experience trail” segment. This segment offered a guided tour (mostly) to showcase examples of how service design and an integrated strategy can positively impact businesses, in this case, retail.

This experience was further validation for a concept we created last year to change the way cars are sold.

What is Audi City

Audi City, with locations in London, Shanghai and Berlin, offers customers a unique immersive experience to allows potential clients to better understand the brand, it’s models and philosophy.

While the showroom does feature a few actual cars, the main focus is on interactivity. Since it’s located in a central area , space is of the essence so they designed a space that maximizes visibility on a few models while others are accessible thru the platform that they built virtually.

Audi City Berlin — Photo: Vieran Hodko

The experience itself is quite grandiose. Visitors are immediately greeted with a larger than life displays, showcasing incredibly well produced videos featuring different Audi models doing extravagant things.

Audi City Berlin. Interactive displays. Photo Credit: Vieran Hodko

Screens and more screens:

3d cinema space — Audi City Berlin- Image: Vieran Hodko

Personalization: Select and Swipe

Audi City Berlin Photo:Vieran Hodko

One of the most innovative (and techy) features is the selection and personalization of an Audi model. Visitors can choose the model of their liking and navigated thru all of the available options; interior, engine, navigation, finishes, etc. Changes and pricing are updated in real time. On the “cool” factor, one can select and slide the chosen model with options on the giant screens for better viewing. The model display is nearly a 1:1 representation of the vehicle.

Personal shopping

The staff is meticulously trained and uniformed (along with unique, bright orange Adidas kicks). Once the visitor has a broad idea of what they want, they are invited into a private room where a trained advisor can help them make choices about colors, interiors and finishes.

Audi City Berlin — Photo credit: Vieran Hodko

Follow up

While the representative told me that visitors seldom buy cars in-situ, the experience provides them with a crucial first step in embedding the brand and it’s image with the customer. The potential buyer leaves the space with a printed version of the model they were exploring complete with all the options and a specific code for when they are ready to purchase.

About Vieran: a curious mind, world traveller and masters 4 languages to a degree where some people think he is a spy. He is trained as an Architect. While pursuing his studies, he did multiple consulting commissions in Canada, Mexico and in Europe. He developed a passion for marketing and communications, which he found to be not only complimentary but necessary for communicating design intent and getting different through the different layers of approval to get a project or product going. He is an amateur photographer, scuba enthusiast and has a healthy obsession for hospitality/ tourism.

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