The experience centres will not have actual cars but product information on large TV screens that is being looked at as a cost-effective way to run a dealership.
The process of inspecting a vehicle at the dealership forms an important part of the car buying process. As ubiquitous it is, watching a car in metal and rubber can be the reason for buyers to confirm or simply change their decisions. Challenging the conventional, Renault India is looking at the next stage in dealerships and plans to open the first-of-its-kind digital dealership model in the country that will radically change the layout of a showroom.
With the digital dealership concept originating from TVS & Sons, the parent company of TVS Group, Renault will allow TVS to pilot the new concept of showing cars on digital screens. The concept suggests that instead of placing an actual car in the showroom, customers will get product introduction of the car on the internet enabled television screens and can also have information aggregators for comparison purposes. The digital dealer will store the inventory in a stockyard while reducing the floor space otherwise used for a dealership. This in turn will help reduce costs of the dealer, making the business more viable and profitable.
Renault India will be calling these digital dealerships as “experience centres”. Though the experience centre concept hampers the idea of physically seeing and experiencing the car inside a showroom, the French manufacturer states that the absence of the vehicle should not be seen as a negative trait since customers already see the car on roads before going into the showroom for a look. At present, the concept does not shed light on whether the experience centres will have test drives available or will limit the entire product viewing experience to the digital space.
If the idea of a car-less showroom sticks around with prospective customers, Renault will be replicating it across other metro cities as well. The concept of a digital showroom has been tried in the west with coffee shops and book stores also integrated with the concept to create brand value. Developed nations have also advanced to buying cars online, having the same delivered to their residence. Apart from the experience centres, Renault will also expand into finance and used car business later this year.