A car dealer in the middle of the city? In a Parisian shopping centre, even? This unusual idea comes from Nissan, which has opened the first Nissan City Hub in the Vélizy 2 shopping centre in Paris. The hub is centred on e-commerce and electric cars.
Hybrid showroom: e-commerce and physical stores combined
Nissan has revealed a new store concept in Paris: the car manufacturer has opened a hybrid showroom in the Vélizy 2 shopping centre. It's heavily focused on e-commerce and digital technology. While customers can take out a car for a test drive and there are flesh and blood employees to help them out, the actual purchase occurs online.
Nissan City Hub claims to be "a new concept for the sale of electric cars, where e-commerce and a physical store come together". "With new technology and other new tools, the Nissan City Hub offers a unique and comprehensive customer experience, with a seamless interplay between online and offline," explains Ken Ramirez, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing at Nissan Europe.
Customers already decide online
Nissan is developing a new sales and distribution strategy because a Bain & Company study showed that more than half of all car sales starts online. About 60 percent of the customers has actually decided "which brand and model they want at what price" before visiting the car dealer.
Therefore, Nissan is looking to reinvent its distribution network: the City Hub contains 88 sqm of screens and displays. A team of employees with various retail backgrounds known as "Nissan Intelligent Mobility Ambassadors" assists the customers, but at the same time, people can purchase and customise their electric car online with only a few mouse clicks. When you order a car, you can then pick it up at the hub or another dealer of the distribution network. Home delivery is another option.
By the end of 2019 the showroom will be expanded even further. Customers will be able to discover energy storage systems and quick chargers for their electric cars. In time, the Nissan City Hub concept will be rolled out in other major cities such as Berlin, Tokyo and Shanghai.