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Why people counters are essential for car companies moving into retail

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Written by Tony Loxton
Jan 2

If you’ve spent any amount of time in some of the bigger shopping centres around Australia over the past year, you might have noticed a growing number of car brands setting up shop: everyone from Tesla, to Mercedes, and Jaguar Land Rover have been opening car companies in retail shopping centres around the country. While most of these aren’t much more than just a dealership placed in a shopping centre, others are taking the traditional dealership experience and flipping it on its head.

Regardless of the execution, it’s clear that these brands are trying to engage their customers in new, innovative ways and in unexpected places. So what does this mean for the automotive industry, and car companies specifically?

 Some examples of car companies moving into retail around Australia

Jaguar Land Rover’s store that opened in Westfield Bondi Junction in October, for example, features two state-of-the-art ‘digital vehicle configuration stations’ that allow customers to virtually ‘build’ their cars on-screen and customise the exterior and exterior colours, add features and even select from a range of different wheels and trims to create a totally unique model. For customers looking to take the next step, a full range of Jaguar and Land Rover test vehicles are also located on site and can be taken on test-drives directly from the location.

Mercedes Melbourne, located at the foot of the Rialto Towers, combines cafe culture and the signature classiness of the Mercedes brand, with a stylish coffee shop, as well as a ‘Meet the Maker’ space where Melburnians can appreciate the work of local watchmakers, clothing designers, distillers and more.

What’s the reason behind car companies moving into more traditional retail spaces?

Customers have changed. That’s as true for restauranteers as it is of car salespeople. Rather than being sold to, customers want to experience the brand they’re buying into. It’s no longer enough to just rattle off to your customer about the features of the car you’re trying to sell them; instead, you need to demonstrate what it means to own one of your cars - the ‘why’ of your brand, rather than the ‘what’. At the risk of stating the obvious, all these brands are still in the business of shifting metal: their objectives are still to sell as many of their cars as possible. So how does this new model of business add value to car companies? Simply put, they’re hoping that these activations will generate positive customer experience, which will help their customers fall in love with their brand and drive sales as a result. But is there a way to measure this quantitatively? And, in the case of brands taking a more traditional retail approach, like Jaguar Land Rover, are they equipped to operate a retail store efficiently?

Next generation tools like people counters and foot traffic analytics give dealership owners a new level of insight into store metrics

With the people counter software and foot traffic analytics software available today, it’s possible for store owners to get deeper insight into the performance of their stores and the movement of customers than ever before. WiFi people counters like Blix Traffic, for example, measures how customers move within your store, down to how long they spend at certain points on the floor. By installing these in dealerships and retail outlets, it’s possible to measure the number of retail customers who subsequently visited a dealership. This gives you a tangible result of how effective your retail installation is at converting prospects into customers.  If you’d like to know more about how people counter software and foot traffic analysis can improve the performance of your dealership, download our free guide to unlocking a new world of insight into store performance.

Download our retail white paper - Go Beyond the Door

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