Cars sell in a less pressured environment. A common sense fact you’d think, but one that is changing an industry.

Background

We have seen cars in shopping centres for years, it’s nothing new. Typically though they are seen in casual leasing spaces between the stores, adorned with competition rules and hired talent designed to distract you on your journey to Woolies. Subaru have recently uncovered a remarkable insight around selling cars in shops in shopping centres. We wish we could claim it as our idea but the brilliant brains at Subaru actually brought it to us. The insight is simple; people don’t expect to buy a car from the mall, they are therefore completely unprepared to deal with the mental challenge of doing so. Instead, they are delightfully surprised to see cars in shops – it’s a novelty! “Shall we just sit in one?”

Challenge

The emerging trend of mall store retailing (also see Volvo at Westfield Parramatta and JLR Westfield Bondi) presents a window of opportunity for car retailers in Australia. It’s only a window because as we know, as soon as the other car brands follow, the landlords will club them all together in one wing of the mall for a more ‘convenient’ shopper experience and over night the first mover advantage will disappear. The challenge therefore is to create an experience that is differentiated in a way that future proofs the brands approach to mall retailing.

Approach

Firstly we have deliberately moved as far away from the typical showroom experience as possible, blending retail lifestyle merchandising and photography with the cars in a way that allows shoppers to consider the broader context of why they would choose one model over another. We have interpreted the new Subaru ‘Do’ brand positioning for each model of car in the Subaru stable, creating a lifestyle story around the purpose of each model.

Overlayed with the model specific stories being told, we have introduced a 3D illuminated exhibition piece around the new Subaru Global Platform, showing off the world leading technology of the chassis now being used in all current models.

Results

On the back of the success of the Werribee store, Inchcape have since engaged us to work alongside Centric architects on the JLR showroom at Westfield Bondi junction. As well as mall retailing, our work with Subaru is now entering its next phase with further new retail formats being developed in order to protect its market leading position as innovative retailers.

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