On 12 January this year, Audi opened its first ever pop-up store at London’s Westfield shopping centre. The store was conceived as a brand experience to support the launch of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, the first hybrid car to be derived from a UK best-selling premium hatchback. The car couples a 75kW electric motor with a 1.4 TFSI petrol engine, delivering the potential for up to 176mpg with CO2 emissions of just 37g/km.
Audi set out to resolve customer confusion around how hybrid vehicles work and particularly around recharging. The auto brand developed the store concept to foster greater understanding of and excitement about the vehicle, using a real car, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tech to educate visitors. Audi partnered with mobile marketing firm Somo to deliver the in-store tech.
Using a physical e-tron car as a trigger, an AR iPad app visually displayed how to charge the vehicle to further emphasise how easy it is to own the hybrid. Another iPad app allowed visitors to configure their own custom model, while Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets let them experience what it was like to drive the car, even if they weren’t old enough to drive it in real life.
Finally, the virtual e-tron zone allowed visitors to use static triggers to access 3D models of the engine, battery and motor, giving a thorough look at what is under the hood of the car.
Using technology inside the store to bridge the physical and digital worlds, Audi and Somo were able to create a fun experience that helped to demystify the e-tron and get visitors excited about the launch of the new vehicle.
The store proved a hit with consumers, attracting more than 7,800 visitors over the four weeks it was open. More than 10 per cent of these went on to book a test drive with Audi.
“The footfall figure of just 7,800 visitors in four weeks is incredible when you compare that with the average footfall going into an Audi dealer,” says Audi UK national communications manager, Sarah Cox. “We will definitely evaluate further pop-up stores for the future.”
There’s more on the Audi e-tron pop-up store here.