When an automotive brand sells a car, they’re selling so much more than a practical solution to get from A to B; they’re selling a lifestyle. Luxury automotive brands have always paid meticulous attention to how their showrooms look and feel. Yet, in recent years, these brands are having to work even harder to get buyers’ attention.
Discerning customers have come to expect more than great customer service and glossy finishes; they want to feel empowered by an immersive car-buying experience that puts them in the decision-making driving seat.So, in this post, let’s look at how some of the biggest brands in luxury automotive are reimagining their showrooms. With razor-sharp attention to design detail both in and outside the showroom doors, they’re prioritising interactive experiences that help customers envision themselves at the centre of an aspirational lifestyle.
The Rolls-Royce Treatment
If there’s one automotive brand that is synonymous with luxury, it’s Rolls-Royce. In 2021, the brand opened its new flagship showroom in Mayfair, London. The aim? To create a ‘wholly immersive client experience’ that blends timeless elegance with cutting-edge modernity. This immersive experience begins with the exterior of the showroom. The front door has been modelled on Rolls-Royce’s famous pantheon grille whilst, even when the showroom isn’t in action, videos are projected on the windows to create the illusion of on-going activity within.
Inside there are various zones that welcome interaction, including a ‘speakeasy’ bar and various private consultation areas with product samples. Each model in Rolls-Royce’s portfolio has its own dedicated display area, where the physical motor cars are paired with digital screens that immerse customers in the unique personality of each model. With razor-sharp attention to detail, the visual identity of the space has been painstakingly curated. A bespoke lighting control system uses different sequences to set a unique ambiance in each zone, as well as establishing a bright, modern ambiance during the day and a softer ambiance in the later hours.
The overall result is a physical embodiment of the Rolls-Royce brand that respects its rich heritage whilst being completely contemporary. This is part of Roll-Royce’s long-term strategy to target younger buyers and turn the process of buying a car into a highly modern shopping experience.
‘Ultra-Luxury’ with Aston Martin
In June 2023, Aston Martin unveiled its’ ‘first ultra-luxury flagship location’ on 450 Park Avenue, New York. Dubbed ‘Q New York’, it provides ‘an ultimate blend of digital and physical car configuration’ to provide ‘an exclusive and immersive entry into the thrilling world of Aston Martin’. So, what does this all mean? It means that Aston Martin is going above and beyond to manifest its luxury edge as a physical space.
Before they even get inside, visitors are greeted by a unique window installation named the ‘Champagne Frame’. Created with one of the largest single panes of glass ever installed into a New York building, it’s an installation of epic proportions that boldly stakes out Aston Martin’s place on one the Big Apple’s most famous streets. Inside, things are no less impressive. The design principles are based on quintessentially British architecture, including unmistakably luxe touches such as chandeliers, framed grand windows, and ornate fireplaces.
When booking an appointment, clients will be able to visualise their personalised Aston Martin on a 10.5 metre x 3.5 metre LED wall. This provides an ultra-high definition, 360-degree view of any Aston Martin at true-life scale. By creating immersive, interactive place branding, Aston Martin is recognising the growing trend of personalisation across the luxury goods market. By inviting clients to take control of the car-buying process, it prioritises creative expression and empowerment.
Porsche: Luxury in the Driver’s Seat
In recent years, brand-new Porsche show-rooms have been popping up across the globe. From Australia to LA to India, Porsche is rolling out its customer-focused strategy that sees it aim to buck the trend of online, automated retail with ‘a large-scale commitment to customer immersion’. Earlier this year, Porsche inaugurated five new facilities in one week across India. New state-of-the-art showrooms in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai aim to take visitors on an immersive experience that will showcase Porsche’s rich history as well as its innovations in engineering and performance.
Taking immersive retail spaces a step further, there are – of course – the Porsche Experience Centres. The 10th Porsche Experience Centre set to open in Canada in 2024, will include a large retail space, hotel and even a concert hall. Porsche describes these locations as ‘the best places to make the most of the full capabilities of the cars from across the Porsche Range’ The multi-million dollar facilities feature handling courses, low-friction circuits and off-road tracks where Porsche enthusiasts and aspiring customers alike can get behind the wheels of a luxury vehicle.
This approach is helping Porsche connect to new, younger audiences. 30 percent of non-owners say they are very likely to invest in a Porsche after getting behind the wheel. The two U.S. Experience Centres have topped 250,000 visitors who want not only to drive, but also shop and dine in a distinctly Porsche-branded environment. There’s a growing understanding amongst car dealerships that consumers want a more visceral, empowering car-buying experience. By immersing potential customers in their brand and quite literally putting them in the driving seat, Porsche is pioneering a new type of luxury – the luxury of empowerment.
Immersive Luxury with Merson
With decades of delivering highly diverse dealership signage for many of the world’s most iconic automotive brands, including Aston Martin, Lotus, Volvo, Honda and Ford, we have a huge bank of experience when it comes to designing showrooms and dealerships that truly connect with customers. Our proud partnership with Aston Martin spans two decades. In 2015, as Aston Martin repositioned itself as a true luxury brand, we were ready to help them upgrade dealerships across the globe. Providing bespoke signage and fitting, we successfully curated a high-end membership-only club atmosphere that helped customers imagine their own aspirational lifestyle.
Rolling out exterior and interior signage across entire dealership networks, we know how to maintain brand constituency whilst simultaneously highlighting the individuality of each building and location. As immersive, interactive buying experiences become key in the luxury automotive space, we offer cutting-edge digital solutions that bring even the most timeless brands into modernity.
Want to envision how your dealership could look with the help of Merson? Book a virtual reality demo at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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