Even those who are really into cars still don't look forward to visiting auto dealers to purchase a new car. Everyday consumers try their best to avoid the hours that can be spent trying to get a fair price on a new vehicle.
Ford, the major auto manufacturer, is hoping to change the way consumers buy cars by introducing their Smart Lab. Starting up in Canada, it's currently testing several new forms of retail ideas in hopes of meeting the changing needs and requirements of consumers. This test program will let customers become better acquainted with Ford vehicles and offerings in a more simple and casual way.
The Ford Smart Lab will move away from the in-person dealership business model and aim to create more buzz and passion around Ford products. Smart Lab was developed to resembled a retail mall and was created by Ford dealers in Italy. The lab will be staffed with advisors who will speak with consumers and inform them about Ford.
“We want to provide Canadians a different way to experience Ford products and services by offering a friendly, convenient and no pressure approach,” said Mark Richardson, Director of Market Representation at Ford of Canada. “We believe the conversations and experiences in this warm, inviting setting will lead to increased interest from people that may not have been considering a Ford vehicle.”
With Smart Labs servicing as one of Ford's major ways to inform and interact with consumers around where consumers are already going out to eat or be entertained, the company aims to bring customers closer to the brand without applying any pressure to buy anything. Placed in locations where consumers are already visiting, people will have the option to test drive cars nearby and be informed about Ford products and services in a more casual environment.
The vehicle purchasing process has changed in the past decade as consumers have more information to access via the internet. Ford's new strategy with sales should change how customers engage with car purchasing overall.
Ford already has one Smart Lab open in Brussels and expects to open another later this year. The company hopes to open four new retail designs by the end of the year.