BMW Dealerships get Their Own Apple-Style Product Geniuses

Having proven its worth, Apple’s hugely successful retail strategy is now being emulated by the automotive industry. After Lexus took a page from the computer giant to create its own Genius Bar of sorts, BMW is following suit by adding its own geniuses to outlets in the U.S., France, UK, China and the Netherlands, with more countries to join later on. BMW says that their objective is to improve customer support with in-depth product knowledge as well as allowing them to better utilize and configure products in accordance with their specific needs. All BMW Geniuses will be equipped with an Information Management System running on a tablet device, which will allow, for example, product configuration and in-depth explanation of features supported by visuals and films. One of the first BMW geniuses is Oliver Watkins who works for Cooper Norwich BMW in eastern England. “We tell them we work for BMW in a new, exciting role, and we sometimes refer to ourselves as the ‘geeks’ of BMW,” the 21-year old employee told Bloomberg News. Another shop to employ this strategy is the first BMW Brand Store that opened in an upscale area of metropolitan Paris in the Avenue George V earlier this week. Speaking at the grand opening of the Parisian store, BMW’s sales and marketing director Ian Robertson said: “When it comes to recruiting and enabling the right people for the implementation of future retail, we will assist our dealers to attract, develop and retain the industry’s best professionals. This is of particular importance for the role of the Product Genius.” Robertson added that automotive stores will change dramatically over the next few years. “We want to bring the car environment into the shopping environment,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the retail experience will play a huge role in being successful. The car industry is about 100 years old and basically hasn’t changed. The future could look very, very different.” The BMW Group plans to apply the same strategy to its MINI stores as well. The addition of tech specialists is part of a new initiative that has three objectives, according to the Bavarian firm: “First, to increase the number of possible contact points with customers and prospects, second, to increase the services and benefits offered in its retail channels, and third, to enhance the retail experience at all touch points.”