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Stephen James BMW opens German brand’s first UK store at Bluewater shopping centre (gallery)

Stephen James BMW's store at Bluewater shopping centre, Kent

Stephen James BMW has opened the UK’s first ‘BMW Store’ at Kent’s Bluewater shopping centre - with product geniuses and a robot replacing sales executives.

Staffed by a team of eight product geniuses – and with a robot taking on part of the role usually filled by sales executives – the new facility will allow shoppers to take a test drive moments after booking a slot on an interactive touchscreen.

A “Click and Buy iPad wall”, meanwhile, is loaded with pre-configured specifications on a range of BMW vehicles, providing simple access to a wealth of information, and allowing users to progress through to ordering online.

A statement issued by BMW UK said that a robot would also be patrolling the store offering support to customers in place of a traditional sales executive. The statement said: “Pepper the Robot will be on hand to give visitors information about the store, receive customer feedback and even take contact information from customers wishing to continue with a vehicle purchase.”

BMW UK chief executive, Graeme Grieve, said technology-packed store format reflected the values of the BMW brand.

He added: “Bluewater is a prime location for BMW customers, and I look forward to seeing its popularity with its visitors.”

Alongside its high-tech approach, the Bluewater store will carry a rotating selection of three new models on site, beginning with the brand-new BMW X2 20d M Sport, the practical 218d Luxury Gran Tourer and the compact 118i 5-door, allowing customers to get fully hands-on with the BMW range.

Visitors can experience the buzz of scale-model motorsport by trying out the Scalextric track, while existing owners can take advantage of a free coffee in the Isetta Bar by showing their BMW vehicle key.

Enfield-based Stephen James Group operates BMW and Mini franchises in Enfield, Ruxley and Woolwich and a BMW franchise in Bromley.

In its latest full accounts, to the end of December, 2016, the group recorded a £57,966 turnover (2015: £198.8 million) and an operating profit of £2.3 million (2015: £5.8 million).


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