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Audi City : an incredible interactive customer experience

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Chances are high that you never visited an Audi City store. There are only three of them : in Beijing, London and Berlin. The one in Berlin opened in February and I was fortunate enough to get a thorough tour of it during my stay in Berlin in April.

The principle is very easy. The space available for classical car dealership is more and more limited. There are actually very few opportunities in the heart of big cities which results, as we saw in Paris when Virgin on the Champs Elysees closed down, to heavy fight to take over the space. It is said that Volkswagen will rent this space.

On the other hand, cars are increasingly customizable and millions of combinations exist which, obviously, cannot be shown at one dealership. The customer will therefore always undergo a risk when placing his/her order until the actual car is delivered.

The car dealership of the 21st century

The answer of Audi is simple. Use the latest rendering technology available to display the car as it will actually be.

The Audi City is covered with giant wall screens to view the cars and tactile screens to compose your car. You can visualize the exterior, the interior, open the door, listen to the engine. You can control the car configuration by using the tactile screens, using movement recognition (a Kinect-like system) or even ask the employees, who have ipad mini to control the whole systems, to help you out.

I decided to compose a unique RS7, one of my favorite Audi model, and as you will see on the videos and pictures below, the result was really amazing. Once you’ve found the perfect match, you can share your configuration on Facebook, Twitter or send it via email. You can also print it out. Each configuration get a unique code and barcode which you can scan the next time you come in the store. You can also prepare your visit by configuring your ideal vehicle online; just take the unique code with you, enter it in the Audi City, and the vehicle will appear in 1:1 scale on the wall. That’s just magical.

There are only 4 vehicles on display in the Audi City. One of them was the RS7, there was also the new S1 (proudly made in Brussels). On the first floor an A5 cabrio and an A8 were on display next to the 3D wall. The latter allows, with help of 3D sunglasses, to literally come into the Audi world and see various promotional films featuring Audi cars.

This incredible interactive experience was conceived by DesignIt, a global design firm, and not by Audi itself

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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