While the auto industry mulls ideas of less expensive dealerships and online-only sales models, Porsche is steering in the opposite direction with a boisterous store redesign plan that is as much about customer engagement as it is about selling cars.
The German sports car maker's Destination Porsche retail concept expects to transform its dealerships into part showroom, part experience center and part hangout space. It is a template of how brick-and-mortar retail might flourish in the age of Amazon.
The first Destination Porsche concept store opened March 15 in Palm Springs, Calif. The dealership, owned by indiGO Auto Group, of Houston, was constructed within a year and will be a blueprint for Porsche's retail design language in stores worldwide.
"If we provide a great brand experience, that will keep our customers coming back for more and will drive more prospects to the showroom," Porsche Cars North America COO Joe Lawrence told Automotive News.
Lawrence called the redesign a "transformation of the concept of the dealership from not just a place to transact business, but a place that you would want to come in and soak up Porsche culture."
It's a retail strategy that sells the product by first selling the lifestyle.
Just as Apple hosts workshops and community events in its stores, next-generation Porsche stores will invite customers and brand enthusiasts to come in to watch a Formula E race on a big screen, or play host to a Porsche Club event.
"We're not just competing with car dealerships," indiGO Auto Group CEO Todd Blue said. "We're trying to get people away from their computer screens in their home and give them a reason to come in the store."