Brand experience in the digital age: Mercedes-Benz with new brand presence in retail
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its new brand presence in the first showrooms. As the first international showroom, Hong Kong gives a thorough insight into the future world of experience. In Germany, customers can experience the new concept in Flensburg, where the brand with the star is showcasing how it will be experienceable virtually and in reality in future when the showroom becomes a stage. Within the context of the "Best Customer Experience" marketing and sales strategy, the premium brand is modernising its appearance in the exterior and interior area of its retail operations. In so doing, Mercedes-Benz is more strongly focusing on customers' needs: the aim is to create a fascinating brand experience at the point of sale through a combination of spatial design, innovative advisory processes and the introduction of digitalisation in advice, sales and service.
With its "Best Customer Experience" marketing and sales strategy, Mercedes‑Benz is further aligning its global sales and service for the future. With the new brand presence, the premium brand is redefining the role between the real and digital world in sales and service and is bringing together the benefits of both worlds. In so doing, the focus is on optimal customer care and a holistic brand experience of modern luxury from Mercedes-Benz.
"With the new brand presence, we are creating an innovative world of experience for our customers. Through the combination of personal contact and digital elements in advice, sales and service, our point of sale becomes a point of experience," says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales. This will greatly enhance the quality of personal advice: the discussion atmosphere between advisor and customer benefits from media that supports their dialogue as well as the new world of experience in the car dealership. All information relating to the vehicle becomes more tangible for the customer thanks to the new presentation forms.
It's not only customers who benefit from the new brand presence - it is also a clear sign for the approximately 6,500 Mercedes-Benz locations around the world. Bricks-and-mortar retail will serve as a personal point of contact for all customers and interested parties in the digital age, too, and will be a mainstay of Mercedes-Benz sales. In addition to virtual contact, there will always be a personal customer contact in future. In line with the philosophy of customer centricity, Mercedes-Benz focusses on customers and interested parties, offering them a premium brand experience across all points of contact.
Point of sale becomes a point of experience
All retail elements were considered and modernised with the new appearance at the point of sale, from the reception, sales and service to delivery. In future, the showrooms will become a stage for products and services. Supported by media, a brand space will be created where customers and interested parties experience the brand virtually and in reality. The point of sale becomes a point of experience, a place to encounter the Mercedes-Benz Cars brand family. Designed in cooperation with the Mercedes-Benz Design Team, the new brand presence reflects the design idiom of modern luxury and also makes this more intensely experienceable in retail.
The Hung Hom location in Hong Kong shows what the new brand presence looks like in an international context. Hung Hom is a typical example of an urban showroom in an optimal inner-city location with restaurants and places to shop. Customers here are experiencing the new level of quality in advice, sales and service after a short renovation period of just seven months. All the core elements of the new brand presence including mobile advice and new processes in sales and after sales have been consistently implemented in Hong Kong in the context of the realignment of the sales network.
New job profiles for sales personnel are an essential part of the new brand presence. They ensure that the increasing product complexity and digitisation are taken into account, as well as the individual needs of customers. For example, the product experts explain the special features of the models and their technologies directly on the vehicle or on digital devices and screens to interested parties. The Star Assistant helps shape the entry into the Mercedes‑Benz brand world for the customer. The new job description also plays a key role: The Star Assistant is the first contact for the customer at the reception in the showroom. The customer's concerns are clarified in a personal conversation. As part of the new reception situation, the customer is then immediately forwarded to the appropriate contact person for advice or a service or sales conversation. Setting up a drive-in service reception also illustrates the consistent alignment towards customer requirements and enables optimal customer care in combination with the integrated customer contact surfaces for sales and after sales. This has been demonstrated after just a short period of time in a clear increase in customer frequency.
Hung Hom also serves as an example of the modularity of the new brand presence, which allows for classic locations in suburban areas as well as other format types, for example in the inner city. The basis for this are standardised global basic principles, which allow numerous applications when implementing the brand presence. This means that in the near future, new formats will be possible in Mercedes-Benz brick-and-mortar retail. Customers in Germany can experience the new brand presence in Flensburg.
Elements of the new brand presence
New processes and level of quality in terms of advice
Advice in sales and service has been re-conceptualised and can be individually tailored to the customer to an even greater extent. Processes become detached from previous information and advisory situations: customers are advised situatively and on the move. Stiff furnishing with desks is passé. Showroom employees use media surfaces or mobile end devices flexibly and as required, and advise the customer in various spatial situations, depending on the type and requirements of the personal conversation. In the specially designed lounge areas, advice, sales and service conversations can thus take place in a relaxed atmosphere. The integration of the new job profiles also contributes to this. Thus, for example, product experts advise the customer on the vehicle and its functions and support test drives.
Integration of digital media
One focal point of the new brand presence is the amalgamation of the analogue and digital world. Digital media and the possibilities it presents are used creatively to support conversations in person. Above all in advisory and sales situations they allow for a previously unknown brand and product experience for the customers. Alternating use of medial surfaces with brand, technology and lifestyle topics not only support the presentation and explanation of the products and services of an ever increasing portfolio, but also ensure highly emotive and individual advice and sales.
New reception situation
The new brand architecture is experienceable even when entering the showroom. In future, the entrance will be designed as a personal welcome gesture. The welcome and initial informal customer meeting take place at high tables grouped together in a relaxed manner. The customer experiences comprehensive care regardless of internal units. The new role of the Star Assistant as a host and the "first face" of the brand ensures a very welcoming atmosphere at reception.
New showroom architecture
The architectural concept of the showrooms contrasts with a silver-white roof or celling design thanks to a black interior landscape. Spatial boundaries within the building are kept to a minimum to deliberately create an open-space feeling. A largely transparent building façade creates a flowing transition between the interior and exterior areas.
The concept is modular in design and is oriented to the needs of customers and interested parties. Thanks to their flexibility and variability, the brand presence's individual elements allow a high degree of spatial applications and formats, and thus a consistently applicable CI/CD. This enables individual consultation and sales processes with a standardised global brand presence.