Ford Stores: Customers become guests
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Ford has opened its first new-look concept "Ford Store" on Auckland's North Shore.
The huge new format 'store' opened by North Harbour Ford in Wairau Park has space for 40 vehicles, and is part of a nationwide revamp of dealerships.
The idea is to put the customer first, to improve the customer experience of buying a vehicle, and to cater to what Ford sees as a rapidly changing customer profile and diverse set of customer expectations.
Ford New Zealand managing director Simon Rutherford said his company and its dealers were transforming to meet customer expectations at all points.
“Looking at our business through the eyes of our customers, Ford has begun to transform its business across the shopping, buying and ownership experience,” he said.
“We recognise that customers want to enjoy a fun and rewarding experience when interacting with Ford and to also be in control."
Ford acknowledged that when it came to service, customers today compared all their experiences regardless of the product, service or industry. with the likes of Amazon, an Air New Zealand Koru lounge, or their favourite café.
“We are no longer just competing with the dealer across the road,” said Rutherford.
“We compete on a service level with the concierge at a five star hotel or an expert at an Apple Store. It’s requires a rethink on so many levels and people and process are key.”
The Ford Store by North Harbour Ford is the latest dealership from Automotive Holdings Group New Zealand.
The concept revolved around the concept visitors to the store being not merely customers but guests.
The technology-led, custom-built climate-controlled showroom can comfortably house as many as 40 vehicles indoors.
North Harbour Ford dealer principal Steve Fraser said the company aimed to redefine the guest experience through transforming traditional sales roles into brand ambassadors, removing desks from the showroom, and equipping staff with iPads rather than desktop computers.
The new design featured Ford’s latest global retails standard, including bespoke furniture chosen by Elena A. Ford, Henry Ford’s great-great granddaughter and Vice President, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience of Ford Motor Company.
Supported by Ford New Zealand and Ford Asia Pacific, The Ford Store by North HarbourFord included interactive and touchscreen technology allowing guests to build, customise and compare their own Ford vehicles.
A second Ford Store will open on Wellington's waterfront, with what the company describes as a "welcoming cafe-like ambience."
It is located on the ground floor of Wellington’s new waterfront PWC Centre. with uninterrupted views of the inner harbour.
The Capital City Ford dealer princpal Matt Carman said the intention was to create a retail experience that would appeal and be convenient to Wellingtonians working in the CBD, or enjoying the city's waterfront.
Ford General Marketing Manager, Cameron Thomas, says the launches of the two new stores are part of the larger consumer experience initiative that began last year.
“The two new Ford locations are backed by our recent launch of major consumer service initiatives at dealerships around the country,” he said.
These included a new five-year warranty on all new Ford vehicles, extended roadside assistance, and loan cars when vehicles were in for scheduled services.