Rockar and premium car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover have opened a digital showroom at Westfield Stratford. Situated on The Street, the space reflects the experience gained by Rockar over the last two years operating the industry’s first permanent car stores at Bluewater and Westfield Stratford.
For the first time, however, Rockar’s innovative concept, which reflects changes in consumer buying behaviour and growing trends in the fashion sector, is being implemented by a premium automotive company. Launched today (Tuesday 18 October 2016), this is the third Rockar store developed by London-based creative agency Dalziel & Pow, and the first for Jaguar Land Rover.
The focus of the store is to create brand engagement, empowering the customer to purchase a car with an experience that puts them very firmly in control. Utilising Rockar's technology, customers will be able to configure their new car, agree a value for their trade-in and arrange finance using in-store technology that makes the process seamless, fast and enjoyable. Should they prefer, customers can complete their purchase at home, as they could buying fashion, lifestyle or accessory products.
The store is inspired by its setting, with the store window serving as a dynamic point-of-sale akin to a fashion brand with constantly changing displays and content to create engagement with visitors at Westfield. Rockar’s focus on creating a positive customer experience has also been further enhanced, both to complement the Jaguar Land Rover brands and to reflect the high levels of service provided by brands such as John Lewis and Apple at Westfield Stratford.
Central to this are the Rockar ‘Angels’, a team of product experts recruited from the high-end retail and hospitality industries to guide customers through buying a new car, but without the pressure to make a purchase. Reflecting this role of helping, instead of selling, the Angels are paid a salary rather than commission. The Angels will help customers to use the store’s ‘create’ space, which includes colour swatches, examples of interior trim and samples of the interior choices available, to design a car that reflects their personality.
Dalziel & Pow’s designers worked with existing Jaguar Land Rover global guidelines with colour palette, design values and visual merchandising, incorporating these with Rockar’s signature experience: intimate, easy, engaging and accessible.
Open and welcoming, the storefront features grey alucobond cladding and utilises the full height available, whilst the front window bed is covered by a lifting digital screen offering 24/7 retail theatre to the façade.
The store is defined by four zones, tailored to different stages of the customer journey. The first acts as a gallery-style ‘white box’ displaying a regular rotation of cars to attract passers-by. The next phase, entered through a walnut wood archway, is the ‘create’ space and has a more intimate feel geared towards browsing and consultation. Lighting focuses on colour and material samples that line the tables and walls, helping to simplify the selection of bespoke finishes. At the rear is an open, minimal space designed to ‘educate’ and inform’, where digital screens play information-led content on car benefits and specifications. There are also discreet consultation lounges, enabling customers to discuss their purchases in comfort.
The layout helps manage multiple customer needs, catering to both fast and slow journeys, and creating opportunities to leverage the ownership experience. The flexible space has sliding walls that open up behind-the-scenes areas in the perimeter and mezzanine – designed as blank canvases that are ideal for hosting large events such as private viewings and VIP launches.
All communications are digital via 40 screens around the store that convey individual model stories and benefits as well as the unique Rockar proposition.
'Rockar has responded to a shift in purchasing behaviour to create a car retail experience that responds to consumers’ changing needs in today’s digital age. Our research has revealed that customers are looking for more accessible ways to buy a car that are more aligned to how they shop for clothes, food and gadgets. Rockar’s recent success has proved this research with over 60% of its customers now buying online,' says Simon Dixon, founder of Rockar.
Jeremy Hicks, managing director of Jaguar Land Rover UK, adds: 'As the Jaguar Land Rover family grows with great new models and new buyers, our approach needs to adapt with relevant, innovative ways of engaging with a new type of customer. We have been looking at how we can offer our customers more choice and more flexibility over how they buy a Jaguar or Land Rover, and adding the Rockar model to our network adds an exciting new way to do just that.'
The Rockar Jaguar Land Rover experience is completed by a test drive and handover centre in the nearby car park, in keeping with the main store’s aesthetic, and the full Rockar web proposition – making this the first luxury automotive brand to offer complete online purchasing.