Volkswagen’s ‘blended retailing’ concept has been named Retail Innovation of the Year.
The Retail Systems Awards, which acknowledges technology excellence and innovation in all retail sectors saw Volkswagen UK’s initiative win in the award, beating finalists including Tesco Labs.
The judges said: “This year’s award commends a highly successful digital strategy that has been applied to both sales and aftersales services.”
Volkswagen UK’s blended retailing is a strategy, a process, and a toolkit; a suite of digital tools which combine the online world, the showroom experience and staff in a “seamless journey through the vehicle purchase and ownership experience”.
Looking beyond automotive retail
Joe Wilkinson, Volkswagen UK digital experience manager, said: “In launching blended retailing we had the clear ambition to embed it in the heart of how our retail teams operate.
“We built a clear vision of what an integrated customer journey would look like, based on the most innovative behaviours we could identify from our own research and from looking at what the most successful retailers in other industry sectors were doing.
“These days, clearly, the customer journey starts online and our award-winning Volkswagen.co.uk website is the jumping off point for blended retailing.
The ‘My perfect Volkswagen’ tool allows a customer to outline their requirements, presenting them with their perfect match. From this point they can configure their ideal specification, book a test drive and share their configuration with a Retailer.
“Crucially, this configuration can then be picked up by the sales executive on their iPad when the customer visits the showroom.
"The iPad app also uses video to explain technology and create a personalised digital brochure.
“Volkswagen showrooms are no longer home to traditional physical brochures; instead of 50-plus pages of generic product content, the sales executive works with the customer to refine their specification and put together a brochure unique to them with images, video, pricing, technical info etc giving all the specific information they need to make their decision.”
UK leads the world
Ian Plummer, head of sales operations at Volkswagen UK, said: “Now that we’ve proved the effectiveness of blended retailing, the rest of the Volkswagen world has taken note too.
"Our approach has been adopted as a best practice model by Volkswagen globally and awards such as this prestigious prize from Retail Systems underscore our belief in this innovative strategy.”