Volvo UK is rolling out a new showroom concept to its network from next year with an aim of creating more of a destination for its customers.
Volvo is introducing its VRE (Volvo Retail Experience) look and feel with emphasis on a warm coloured ‘living room’ area for customers to relax in and a cold-coloured ‘street’ area with the cars on display, tablet PCs on stands and customer consultation booths.
The exterior of the showroom will be largely opaque, but with clear ‘shop windows’ through which passers-by will see Volvo’s cars prominently displayed.
Inside, large interior glazing will allow customers to see all activity in the workshop, and the concept facilitates customers speaking directly with technicians, AM understands.
Some sites with the VRE corporate identity are already open in China, Sweden and South Korea, and AM has learned that the first in the UK are now at the planning stages.
It's not yet known whether current Volvo showrooms are generally able to be converted to the new style, said one property adviser source.
The Swedish carmaker wants the living room to be a more secluded, intimate area with lower ceilings, dimmer lighting and stylish furniture. A self-service open refreshments bar or larger barista bar will be a feature.
The ambition for Volvo is to create a ‘one hour stop’ by enticing customers to stay and relax.
Phil Hand, head of network development at Volvo, said it’s key for dealer staff to get the people visiting the dealership to relax and enjoy the experience.
For Volvo, that includes making everything “more Swedish” because it marks dealers out from the opposition.
“We are moving into using higher-quality natural materials in the showroom,” he said.
Hand said it’s about making the customer happy. While Volvo dealers won’t get rid of the more formal ‘sales consultant across the desk’ approach entirely, the company believes some customers will want to sit on a comfy settee to do the transaction.
“People look at the range of cars on the website and get an idea of what Volvo is. We want to make sure that philosophy is carried on into the showroom. They want to visit the dealership because they want it underwritten in their mind that this is what the brand stands for.”