Audi Digital Showroom Concept


Audi launches first digital showroom in London

Earlier this week I spent a couple of hours at the launch of Audi’s first digital showroom,  Audi City London. It’s located in the heart of the West End on Piccadilly, almost directly opposite the Ritz at Green Park. One of 20 planned worldwide – the next is Audi City Shanghai. It’s worth taking a look if you’re interested in how car manufacturers are interpreting digital.

One stop shop for experiencing the brand

Audi say, “This new retail format brings us even closer to our customers – geographically, of course, but first and foremost in terms of the quality of our relationship. Audi City offers new freedom for tailor-made services and an even more individual contact with the customer”. “A one stop shop for experiencing the brand”, said Peter Schwarzenbauer head of sales and marketing.

Bigger is better

This is a big step forward for a car manufacturer. And the idea of using digital to provide a more personal and immersive showroom experience is a good one. But it really doesn’t go far enough as essentially it’s a car configurator with a life sized screen. There was nothing about what the brand believes in and nothing that encouraged me to get more involved with the brand at an emotional level.

The human touch?

Nice try Audi and a big thumbs up for being the first to make a move in the right direction. Yes the product is important, it’s at the centre of every customer experience but customers have other needs that are social/emotional driving our involvement with products and brands. Those needs also have to be satisfied if brands want customers to move from users of product to advocates and co-creators of value.

Environments like Audi City need to be more about how products fit into our lives including our psychological needs. Brands mean more to us when they become inseparably intertwined with our sense of self and the stories that describe our lives real or imagined.

Think, See & Do

Think personal, think social, think feedback, think involvement, think digital, and think real. See Nike, see Apple, see Disney, see The Science Museum, and see the Tate Gallery. With these sorts of experiences in mind, Audi City could become a real game changer in the car world, but they need to act soon if they want to retain their advantage.


Tom Penney