Volkswagen’s inaugural new store concept, designed by Dalziel & Pow, uses “the joy of Volkswagen life” as its inspiration. Located in Bullring, Birmingham, this pioneering vision for automotive retailing connects consumers with the pleasures of car ownership.
The Bullring concept motivates a wide audience not only to engage with stories in-store and admire the brand’s innovations but also to jump behind the wheel, get more out of their free time and live adventurously with Volkswagen.
Responding to shifting consumer attitudes and the demand for experience, Volkswagen’s store brings auto retail into a bustling shopping centre setting that boasts an annual footfall of 36 million. Customers can seamlessly conduct everything from initial enquiries to the purchase of a new or pre-owned Volkswagen car in this inviting, interactive space.
The Bullring store vividly brings to life the benefits and joys of owning a Volkswagen vehicle, trading technical specifications for human connections and engaging storytelling. It connects over shared passions such as outdoor pursuits, extreme fitness and wanderlust.
The open entrance design with its 10-screen video wall immediately attracts Bullring shoppers. An editorial approach was taken to explain the everyday life benefits of the vehicles in a relatable context, featured on large-scale magazine light boxes adjacent to each vehicle. Each model’s provenance and usability is clearly communicated along with the wider brand story – both celebrating its heritage and promoting its future.
An innovative digital wall, spanning the left-hand side of the store, invites everyone to explore the brand and its models in a richly engaging interplay of physical objects, film and animation. Arranged on shelves, an eclectic assortment of tactile objects trigger car-related stories to play. Vignettes of people enjoying the real life benefits of vehicle ownership come alive around car models, and on a model of Volkswagen’s Car Towers in Autostadt is a button that prompts illuminations and facts about the factory and manufacturing processes to appear on the wall.
Additional scale models give visitors the opportunity to discover more, and with a simple touch 360° footage of the vehicle and its key features appear on the screen behind. And a series of icons along the interactive wall and shelves trigger the latest in technological advancements from Volkswagen.
Quotes from car owners, iconic adverts, branded video and aggregated social media feeds all feature in the multi-sensory display. The digital wall also engages children with specific features on the lower shelves. They can turn the key in a model Volkswagen Beetle car to launch an animated backdrop, as if the car is being driven through a changing landscape, or customise a Golf using projected patterns and colour.
After exploring the digital wall, customers may configure their own car on iPads around a central table, getting added inspiration from wall-mounted samples of colours and finishes, before moving onto a big-screen ‘reveal’ of their chosen vehicle. A final side-by-side consultation with non-commissioned product experts finishes the purchase journey in a personal, human way. The journey has been designed to remove barriers to purchase and to offer a simple car-buying process.
Customers are invited to experience new models first hand by sitting in various Volkswagens displayed in-store, or taking a car for a spin from the dedicated test drive pod in the recently refurbished Bullring centre car park, just a brief walk away, beneath the store.
Flexible design means the store can be transformed overnight to accommodate individual car stories or takeovers, such as a model launch, and the vehicles on display will be refreshed frequently to keep the experience right up to date. Volkswagen’s comprehensive vehicle accessories and official merchandise are stocked in the store, and it is even possible to purchase a used car from Volkswagen’s ‘Das WeltAuto’ Approved Used car scheme, using Volkswagen’s award-winning Blended Retail system to begin the purchase decision either in store or on the website.
Dalziel & Pow’s unique lifestyle-led design at Birmingham’s Bullring delivers a new retail landmark for the Volkswagen brand, joining its flagship site in West London. Partnering Volkswagen in the project is Johnsons Cars, which has operated Johnsons Volkswagen retailers in the Birmingham area since 2004.