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).