Each month the global FITCH Must See team explore the best in brand experiences. Strategist Suchit Kakar looks at how MG Motor is disrupting the automotive category with a digital-led format shift.
If I asked you to imagine a car showroom…what comes to mind? A large, white, open expanse with a cluster of cars showcased front and centre, for your perusing pleasure?
While these features seem like the typical pillars of a car showroom, what happens if you do away with them?
That’s what MG Motor is exploring with its new format, “MG Digital Studio” in Bangalore.
Though an icon in British automotive history, MG is a brand new entrant in the Indian market. As an upstart competitor, how could the brand use its retail experience to assert their difference? By challenging existing norms and conventions through a curiously divergent take on the showroom — a store with no cars on display.
This relatively tiny, 500 sq. ft., space is designed to give people a visually immersive experience into the Hector, MG’s current car on offer in India.
Using digital activations like augmented reality and AI-based face and voice recognition, the entire in-store experience revolves around a life-sized interactive screen that showcases the Hector and its capabilities.
Through rich and detailed visual demonstrations, customers can genuinely understand the vehicle better and confidently configure their ideal car. And if they aren’t finished, MG stores their data and preferences for the next visit.
MG has taken away what customers expect, and delivered what they’re actually looking for but can’t find in the existing showroom ecosystems — clarity, knowledge, and a better buying experience.
In return, MG enjoys a significant reduction in operation and infrastructure requirements and running costs are one-fourth of a standard showroom. With space no longer a major constraint, it opens up future opportunities to set up in popular, city-centre locations that were previously deemed unfeasible.
This is, so far, just a pilot store. Will this perceived gamble pan out? Only time will tell. Regardless, the key takeaway is: don’t follow convention for the sake of tradition, look instead to what customers want to, and can best, achieve with you. Experiment with formats to build better brand gateways and host a more meaningful experience.