By Julie Herbel, Global MBA Student
Russians don’t want to be seen spending money, says Olivier Rademacher from BMW. Therefore, opening a regular car dealer shop would have made no sense. Especially to market the 7 series, a car BMW wants to sell as a luxury item. BMW made a bet: opening a pop-up store in Moscow that looks like nothing ever seen in the automobile industry before, which will surprise the customers and offer new opportunities.
The store, or should I say space, is a white cube. As in many art galleries nowadays nothing can be seen from the outside. You enter the store facing a white wall. Once you get around it a single room space welcomes the visitor. The first thing you see is a round white table with 8 white chairs. Looking to the left, the visitor discovers carefully chosen Pirelli photos with an exhibition-like lighting and a small white sofa to have time to contemplate the portraits. Opposite to that wall is a long white bar serving Nespresso (a.o.) which you can enjoy sitting on classy white bar stools. It is probably only then that you become aware of the BMW 7 series in the very back of the store. For sure you noticed it before. But now you actually take it in. Wherever you sit, the car is there, in the corner of your eyes. Almost like a subliminal message.
BMW decided to rent the space to some of their partners, organizing viewings of movies or opening parties. In a small part of the room a semi-open area offers the possibility to go through books from all BMW partners comfortably seated in silver armchairs.
As for the question of whether they are able to sell cars in such a store, the answer was clear: yes. Shopping for BMW is no longer shopping for a commodity, it is shopping for the experience and for Moscow to show off an expensive car “made in Germany”.