Never one to settle for the status quo, Audi has taken a significant step towards revolutionising automotive retailing with its Audi City ‘virtual showroom concept’, and its work to streamline and enhance the purchase process has just earned it a ‘Store Technology Award’ in the prestigious BT Retail Week Technology Awards.
Over 500 of the UK’s top retailers and technology suppliers attended the high profile awards ceremony last night (June 19) at London’s Park Lane Hilton, located just around the corner from the first ever Audi City venue in Piccadilly, London. Judges presiding over the 12 category awards included IT and commercial directors from some of the country’s most highly regarded and progressive retail organisations, including John Lewis, House of Fraser, Jacques Vert and Net-a-Porter. The Store Technology Award is new to the category list for 2013.
Jason Cranswick, Head of Customer Quality and Network Development for Audi UK, collected the award on behalf of the brand. He commented: “I’m absolutely delighted that Audi is the first recipient of this new category award, particularly as it comes courtesy of highly respected innovators from some of the most admired names in UK retailing.”
“The Audi City concept is Vorsprung durch Technik down to a tee – it bucks trends, embraces the future and employs leading edge technology to make life easier for our customers. It also helps to bring us closer to them, both geographically and in terms of the personalisation of our service. We’re immensely proud of it, and grateful that it has now had the recognition we feel it deserves.”
Rebecca Thomson, Insight Editor at Retail Week, added: “Retail technologists don’t have an easy job – they are dealing with structural changes that are unprecedented, and working to ready the industry for a shopping environment that will rely almost entirely on technology. It’s no mean feat and one we feel should be recognised, and last night’s winners should feel very proud of what they are achieving.”
The Audi City format enables the entire Audi model line-up to be presented fully digitally in a compact space, making it ideal for projecting the Vorsprung durch Technik brand right into the heart of major international cities. More than 20 Audi City stores are expected to be in place in key locations worldwide by 2015.
Thanks to ground-breaking media technology, all colours, equipment options and functions for all Audi models can be displayed in their entirety, enabling customers to experience the sheer breadth of the range in full. Visitors can digitally select their vehicle from several hundred million possible configurations and experience it in realistic 1:1 scale on screens that almost fill the entire space. Equally importantly, technical details such as the drivetrain, body shell or LED light technology can be presented in isolation to make innovations and their benefits more understandable.