Nissan Studio combines mall boutique with online streaming
Nissan Canada is opening a pop-up location dubbed the Nissan Studio at Yorkdale Mall on December 1 as part of its launch campaign for the next-generation Rogue.
The storefront will be multi-use, with half being a mall-facing component; and half a production studio for online live streaming. This allows sales consultants to split their time between the two sides based on demand, and it also lets a portion of the boutique continue to operate if retail outlets are shut down again due to COVID-19.
Speaking of COVID-19, isn’t this a somewhat strange time to launch a new in-person format for car sales, when pandemic safety measures are forcing mask-wearing and physical distancing? Nissan Canada’s Director of Marketing, Adam Paterson, says he and his team are satisfied there’s enough foot traffic in malls right now to make this format viable.
“I was at [a mall] three weeks ago because I had to return something that I couldn’t return online,” Paterson says. “I had to drive around waiting for a parking spot. It’s still a very busy place to be.”
“We don’t know what December is going to bring. That’s why we wanted to have both options.”
There’s also more of an appetite for hands-on vehicle shopping than the recent emphasis on online selling would suggest. According to a survey completed by Deloitte, 78 per cent of Ontarians still want to visit a location in person to interact with a car as part of the automotive purchase experience. Paterson said this concept allows Nissan to bring that in-person portion of the process to a place where buyers are already present while simultaneously creating infrastructure for a digital platform in the same space.
“We still think, [and] I still think, the car-buying purchasing experience is somewhat visceral,” Paterson says. “People like to touch and feel and see and understand. It’s difficult to get scale, perhaps, when you’re doing something online. I think it’s key to have both aspects going forward.”
Live auto shows have been cancelled across the country for 2021, and while the shows in Montreal and Toronto are planning to proceed in a virtual format, Nissan Canada representatives say they’re undecided at this stage on whether the brand will participate. The in-mall studio format could in some ways simulate an auto show presentation format, Paterson says.
“What we’re also looking at trying to do is set up broadcasts similar to the way an auto show presenter reveals a vehicle at a show,” he says. “For certain times throughout the day, you can sign up and join one of those in progress. And then if you’ve got more questions, you can set up a one-on-one session.”
The Toronto location will initially operate through the holiday season and may be extended depending on the success of the program. Other locations across Canada may follow, but potential locations have not yet been announced.
If it works, those courtesy gift-wrapping stations are going to need a whole lot of paper and ribbons.