- Red phone box now a Peugeot ‘call centre’
- ‘Order Online’ proves you can buy er, well, anywhere
- No sales staff, customer is in complete control
LONDON, England – Automaker Peugeot now has the smallest car dealership in the world… about a metre square but on prime land in the middle of England’s capital city.
It’s so small that there are no staff, no showroom, no workshop, in fact absolutely nix except for windows – a lot of them! – and a computer work station with a hi-def screen. And a stool.
Oh yeah, and no salespersons, parts department or ‘dealer principal’. Heshe’s been replaced by a computer. Anybody in the industry getting a trifle scared here…?
SHOW TIME THE SAME
If you’re reading this in England, you’ll find Peugeot Russell Square in, well, Russell Square.
In fact that’s it in the image above and adjacent, from which the potential customer is walking. Doctor Who would have loved it – yes, it’s an iconic red English phone-box and it will open for business on September 12 2017 – at the same time (coincidentally) as the Frankfurt auto show.
Below is its location… yes, you can keep the map. It will be open until the end of September – coincidentally, about when the Frankfurt auto show closes.
Peugeot describes the minuscule dealership as “a fully connected online showroom using Peugeot’s unique e-commerce system, Order Online”.
Customers will gain access to the DD (Diminutive Dealership) by asking for a code at http://www.peugeot.co.uk/russellsquare. Inside, they will find a tablet device connected to Peugeot’s new e-commerce portal, where they can browse, configure, finance and – the automaker hopes – order a new car.
A customer can create any number of vehicle configurations using all of Peugeot’s model range and option choices before either continuing to order or saving their profile and returning later after talking to significant other.
The first order was placed on the portal within 12 hours of the system being launched. Since then it’s hosted nearly a million users who – during 1.5-million sessions – have completed more than 134 000 vehicle configurations and received more than 35 000 part-exchange valuations.
Thursday afternoons are the most popular time for ordering a car (now you know why newspaper auto supplements always appear on a Thursday!) according to data records with the Peugeot 208 the most popular – one in every five deals.
David Peel, Peugeot’s MD, told The Corner in a media release: “The World’s Smallest Dealership is a perfect example of how technology continues to change the way we research, view and buy products.
“Not that many years ago the process of buying a new car involved reading lots of printed literature and trawling around dealers. Now, despite a car being the second-largest purchase most people make in their life, it can be done from anywhere.”
Even a phone-box. Here’s how it works at Russell Square… the potential customer takes a (the!) seat at a specially designed desk and browses a miniature forecourt in the form of a counter displaying 1:64 scale model cars.
The box has wifi and an iPad to do everything as they would at home: configure a choice, check finance plans, get a possible trade-in value for their existing car, even book a delivery date.
WHAT ABOUT A TEST DRIVE?
For fun, perhaps at the Russell Square dealership, until the end of September anyway…? But you’ll have to go to a regular showroom for that and speak to a salesperson.
One of those old-fashioned jobbies – you can identify them by them being the only moving things… a bit like robots.