Ford Motor Co. is opening its first “smart lab” in North America, in conjunction with Desjardins Auto Collection, at a Quebec City mall. The intention is to test new retail concepts as customers’ digital-shopping preferences evolve.
Modelled on a successful retail mall concept developed by Ford dealers in Turin, Italy, the smart labs are small retail locations in high-traffic areas near shops, restaurants and entertainment. Les Galeries de la Capitale was chosen because the shopping mall attracts more than 10 million people a year.
These customers, says Ford, seem to embrace a combination of online and in person shopping, can eye its products in an “engaging and relaxing environment,” and test-drive vehicles on nearby streets. If they buy, the transaction is handled by the host dealer.
The Quebec City launch follows the opening of a smart lab in Brussels, Belgium, in May. Ford said it plans to open four more by the end of the year.
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