Why are Automotive Retailers Coming to Shopping Centres?

Automotive brands are appearing more and more in shopping centres and are proving to generate high success levels. They offer guests a new experience, the opportunity to gain an exclusive preview of new models or access to a brand that may be unfamiliar or not considered before. They offer a much more informal platform than a car dealership, the focus of a pop-up shop is the brand experience rather than simply ‘getting the sale’. This informality encourages customers to enter the pop-up, discuss the products, discover and enjoy the interactive technologies and ultimately, engage with the brand. All of this is much more achievable within a shopping centre where the footfall in guaranteed.

When hearing about car brands becoming new tenants within shopping centres, some individuals may say “why would I buy a car when I am browsing the retail shops?” however, as much as a sale would be great, the investment in the lease isn’t for the objective to sell cars. The brand’s presence is for building brand awareness, promoting new products, booking test drives and selling merchandise.

The return on investment in retail space is elevated levels of footfall and an opportunity to raise a brands profile. Simon Dixon, Rockar, has quoted that Hyundai at Bluewater generated more footfall, reaching 260,000 visits since it opened, than the entire network of 158 Hyundai dealerships in the UK. These statistics prove the audience in which they can tap into, building a brands awareness massively and ultimately, driving new customers.

Mercedes-Benz opened a pop-up store in Westfield London earlier in the year and Porsche has recently launched an interactive pop-up store at intu Trafford Centre. An augmented reality app has been developed for Porsche which allows consumers to virtually drive the upcoming Mission E – battery electric sports car. These brands are aspirational for many so really make the stores a genuine experience for consumers.

Technology advancements are allowing automotive brands to showcase cars and products in a much more innovative way. With the developments in shopping centres becoming destinations in their own right, ‘placemaking’ strategies becoming much more prominent and consumers demanding unique and exciting experiences upon every visit – automotive brands offer an excellent solution to this.

Over the past 5 years, the number of car showrooms that have opened across intu’s prime regional shopping centres alone has doubled. Automotive brands offer excellent diversity to a tenant mix and deliver a unique offering for guests. I know personally, I wouldn’t be browsing a Porsche dealership at any time in the near future, but I will definitely be popping into the Trafford Centre to check out their interactive app!

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