Audi City points the way in the future of premium car sales: This physical cyber-store presents Audi’s entire model range using virtual technology throughout, and offers top caliber personal advice and service. The showroom concept therefore blends digital innovation with the strengths of the physical dealership, and acts as the main innovation lab for digitally connected sales activities at Audi. At the forefront of developments in this pioneering field, the Company opened the first Audi City in 2012 and has since been gradually refining the successful formula.
The showroom concept welcomes guests to a new type of location for automotive sales: prime downtown sites in major international cities – from Berlin, Paris and Istanbul to Moscow and Warsaw. It is the first place where – with its compact dimensions – the entire model portfolio of the four rings can be experienced almost true to life, in virtual technology.
Using innovative media technology, fans and customers of the brand can customize their dream Audi from several hundred million different possible configurations, then experience it on almost 1:1 scale on floor-to-ceiling mega-screens .
Audi City offers a special brand experience, with no pressure. It doesn’t matter whether visitors are there to surf through the world of Audi out of sheer curiosity, find out more about the latest technologies and services, or configure their own individual model with a specific intention to buy and place an order. On top of that, every guest visiting Audi City can access almost the entire range of services offered by a classic dealership – because in organizational terms the cyber-store acts as a satellite outlet of a conventional dealership.
The virtual Audi models are now represented with photo-realism, and the digital technologies are now even more efficient in terms of energy consumption and cost.
Audi City: The mission
The automotive world is changing fast – and with it, the expectations and needs that people bring with them when looking to purchase a premium car. Today, nine out of ten customers thinking of buying a new car first do some fact-finding online. Ratings of products and brands on social networks are some of the most prominent sources of information available today, amid an almost unlimited range of digital formats. With most of the initial information being gathered in advance of the visit to the dealership, the expectations surrounding a sales consultation with dealership experts make the task all the more demanding – when it comes to comparing, weighing up and selecting from a steadily growing product offering. When considering tailor made financial services, too, dialogue with the dealer is essential for add on services such as mobility solutions, inspection packages or the trade-in of a used car.
For many people, spontaneous and uncomplicated contact with the brand is becoming increasingly important, be it on digital platforms or in real life – in a lunch break, during a weekend shopping trip or from the convenience of their own home. Audi has set itself the task of bringing together the benefits of the real and the digital worlds, to fully integrate them and thus create a perfect brand experience for the customer in a seamless fusion of the two worlds.
Audi City is one of the Company’s responses to this development. The concept was developed specifically for prime locations at the center of international metropolises – for those places where trends are born, where social diversity is lived and breathed and leading brands from other sectors are located. Here, in the best retail locations, Audi City presents itself as a real life cyber-store that connects physical space with the virtual world.
Visiting Audi City
Audi City makes car buying a memorable experience, even before the first test drive. Visitors load their chosen car on tablets or the multi touch tables and surf through the menus with finger gestures to explore the options in HD quality. If they so wish, they can consult the Audi guides, who will then explain the extensive information available and the digital experiential technology.
With a hand gesture, the customer can then transfer their personal configuration to the floor to ceiling powerwall, where they can experience the car almost on a 1:1 scale. The dynamic acoustic system ensures that the sounds that can be heard in front of the wall are the ones that fit specifically to the selected car and the content presented – e.g. engine sound, special music or spoken information.
For guests with a specific intention to buy, there are also separate Customer Private Lounges equipped with their own multi-touch tables and mega-screens. To enable visitors to personalize their individual dream car further, there are actual fabric, leather and paint samples, each with their own QR code. If the customer would like to try out different color and equipment combinations to assess their overall effect, the codes of the materials and colors on show can be scanned and integrated into the digital configuration on the power wall.
Together with the Audi expert, the visitor can then place a direct order for their new car with the Audi factory. Alternatively, there is the option of saving an individual combination on the customer’s smart phone via a QR code created at the end of the vehicle configuration process. This enables them to take their personal selection home and work on it there, during a subsequent visit to Audi City or at another Audi partner.
There are also reading devices on the multi touch tables that recognize the customer’s current configuration via the QR function and can reload them to the power wall in a matter of seconds. In a conversation, the Audi City employee can immediately tune into the current status of the customer’s decision-making process, thus saving time and improving the quality of advice provided.
Audi City facts
- A retail format developed for city-center locations in major international cities
- Digital product presentation in exclusive stores of small to medium size
- Lifelike presentation of the entire model lineup, including all Audi technologies, equipment options and customization variables
- Personal advice and an exceptionally high service level
- Combination of extensive information options and outstanding experience quality
- Complete spectrum of sales and service offerings through networking with classic dealership
- Downtown locations for exclusive events
- Flexible integration into existing architecture
- Modular transfer of core technologies into the classic dealership format
Average display area
Approx. 400 m²
Number of possible vehicle display combinations
Several hundred million