Four Things the New Porsche Studio Singapore Teaches Us About Customer Experience

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief
March 27, 2024
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SINGAPORE - To even be considered for a car in Singapore a buyer must bid for a certificate that costs $106,000. It’s the most expensive place on earth to own a car. 

And, in a country that can be driven across in less than an hour, owning any car is often down the list of priorities for many middle-class Singaporeans. 

So, if you’re a car brand launching a new dealership in Singapore, it needs to be pretty captivating. 

This week Porsche opened the doors of a new Studio on the corner of Beach Road and Rochor Road, Bugis Heritage District, Singapore. This is a district of towering modern skyscrapers that blend with traditional shophouses and eateries. After the sun sets, fine-dining restaurants and hidden-door speak-easies combine in the bustle of the alleyways.

The Studio, spanning around 8,500 square feet across two storeys, is a retail model for the future. 

Porsche Singapore, the new venture between Porsche Asia Pacific and Eurokars Group, was formed in 2022 to elevate customer experiences in Singapore. And the Studio offers a brand experience that’s so immersive that ‘selling the thing’ is for dessert; It’s secondary. 

Matthias Becker, Vice President of Region Overseas and Emerging Markets at Porsche AG,  said of this retail concept, "Singapore, renowned for its innovative spirit and entrepreneurial attitude, is the perfect location for this enhanced Porsche Studio. With this innovative new format, we aim to test new ideas and ways to interact with our customers and fans, while also offering an unforgettable experience that goes beyond simply selling a car.

Porsche’s team have integrated unique features to create an enhanced Studio concept that follows their urban retail formats. This format plays on the ‘warm and welcoming environments that create new and convenient ways for customers and fans to engage with the brand.’ 

So far removed from the clinical, shiny-tiled, harshly fluorescent-lit dealerships of the bygone era, the studio focuses on longer dwell times for both customers and fans alike. 

On the topic of car dealerships, take China for example. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has introduced a direct-to-customer sales approach, bypassing traditional dealerships in certain cases whilst BMW are putting augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in the driving seat. 

Smartphones or VR headsets can help a potential customer explore detailed virtual showrooms, inspect vehicles inside and out, and even take virtual test drives. 

Porsche

Whilst Porsche has also embraced VR, their Studios offer up an experience virtual is yet to master. Take their plush co-working spaces. Here tribune seating spaces can transition into an intimate fireside chat setting where you can share and exchange ideas with other like-minded individuals. 

Hannes Ruoff, CEO of Porsche Asia Pacific shares, “With a collaborative spirit from the headquarters at Porsche AG, to the regional office here at Porsche Asia Pacific integrated with our new Porsche Studio Singapore, we are fostering a unique and dynamic relationship that strongly reflects Singapore’s status as a global hub for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit."

Porsche

What’s the first thing you do after a productive meeting? A quick screen break, a bite to eat? A coffee? Porsche has already catered for that with Café Carrera a few strides away from the co-working space - there's no need to walk out of the Studio in search of a Starbucks, then. You can spend the entire day and evening there.

Café Carrera is operated by Baker & Cook and stands as a world-first concept within a Porsche Studio. Food is on offer too. The café also caters for external community spaces Porsche is championing. 

Porsche is touting the Plaza and special event spaces at Midtown Square as the perfect area to host community events. “Porsches & Pretzels” is already up and running. This concept only adds potential for established Porsche enthusiasts to introduce their friends into the fold. And cars remain on display, available for test drives and purchase.

A new Porsche Lifestyle concept is strategically sat next to the co-working space. In homage to Singapore, the space opts for “breeze block” design motifs inspired by old local architecture, and bamboo-inspired veneers garnished across selected areas of the Studio. It’s a first-of-a-kind for Porsche and features an exclusive Porsche ‘Prototyp’ collection. The collection is inspired by the “Active Camouflage” wraps of prototype test vehicles.

The built-in car lift practically fulfils the needs of the Studio - moving cars around whilst also adding to the adventure of the space, decorated to suit different themes. On the grand opening, the area carried the Taycan Cross Turismo in “Taycan Record Run Livery”. 

Porsche

The second floor isn’t just an overspill; here, modular spaces offer more flexibility. From yoga classes, product training sessions and keynote speeches, Porsche has added full-length LED walls and in-house state-of-the-art simulators to even host ‘heart-pounding esports races,’ further amping up ‘brand love’.

Porsche even says ‘the entire length of the Studio can be transformed seamlessly into a chic catwalk for a fashion show extravaganza!’ 

After your productive meeting, your yoga session, artisanal coffee, a community event, and back in to browse through the merchandise, you can begin configuring car models on request, arrange a test drive and conceptualise your next Porsche in the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur corner. 

And it’s only after searching through the hundreds of Paint-to-Sample swatches and exclusive leather options that you can then go to the private consultation areas for advanced discussions.

And harnessing the open-HQ model, six floors above the Studio are Porsche Asia Pacific and Porsche Singapore offices. And it’s here that committed customers will see two exclusive delivery bays. 

Porsche says they are “giving Porsche customers in Singapore the remarkable privilege of having the most elevated delivery experience in the Porsche world. This delivery bay also brings amazing theatricality to the traditional delivery experience, creating a pitch-black "reveal moment” and a dazzling light show for any would-be Porsche owner before handing over the keys.”

Whatever retail environment you’re tasked to reimagine, the Porsche initiative demonstrates how blending experiential retail with community building and technological integration can create a new framework for customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

So, what do we learn? Well, consider the possibilites.

Imagine if Hugo Boss broadened their BOSS experience by incorporating flagship stores. Specialty coffee cafés and co-working spaces, where customers could interact directly with the brand's marketing leaders. 

This could foster a deeper connection between the brand and its community, blending lifestyle with luxury fashion in a communal setting.

Envision if Moncler boutique services included a transformation of an open HQ into an immersive "Moncler Lounge," alongside “Café Moncler” a space where luxury (and Parisian roasted Kawa coffee) meets the spirit of the outdoors. 

Could the space could offer a virtual reality experience, allowing guests to embark on virtual ski runs or rare mountain expeditions?  A creative blend of retail, interaction, and virtual adventure would not only deepen loyal customer engagement but also solidify Moncler's identity as a brand that celebrates the luxury of mountain life.

Reimagining Retail Spaces as Brand Ecosystems

Porsche has demonstrated how blending experiential retail with community building and technological integration can create a new form of customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

An approach that can be adapted and implemented across various retail sectors. Porsche Studio Singapore usurps traditional retail models by creating an immersive brand ecosystem. This holistic approach illustrates that the future of retail lies in spaces that serve as immersive brand hubs rather than mere points of transaction. 

Action point: Think about how your retail spaces can embody the essence of your brand beyond the product itself. 

This could mean integrating lifestyle elements that resonate with the brand's ethos, hosting community events, or offering experiences that elevate the brand in the minds of consumers.

Integrating Technology and Design for Enhanced Experiences

The innovative features within Porsche Studio Singapore, such as the built-in car lift for dynamic vehicle displays and modular spaces for diverse activities, underscore the importance of integrating technology and thoughtful design in retail environments. These elements not only enhance your brand’s aesthetic appeal but also the functionality and versatility of the retail space, offering customers unique experiences that cannot be replicated online. 

Action point: Explore innovative uses of technology and design that align with your brand identity and customer expectations. Whether through digital interactive displays, versatile event spaces, or unique design elements that reflect local culture, the goal is to create a memorable and engaging customer journey that encourages longer dwell times. 

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Personalisation and Exclusivity as Differentiators

Porsche has placed a strong emphasis on personalisation and exclusivity. Regardless of whether you represent a luxury brand or not, the sentiments of the unique delivery experience overlooking Marina Bay is one to imitate. This approach to personalisation not only caters to individual customer preferences but also enhances the perceived value of the brand - what could you do to help your brand stand out? 

Action point: Can you identify opportunities to offer personalised and exclusive experiences that reinforce the brand's focus on the customer? This could range from customised products (think Adidas) and services to exclusive member events, leveraging customer data to tailor experiences.

Fostering Community and Engagement

Porsche has created a home for the Porsche community in Singapore. A space where enthusiasts can gather, share, and engage with the brand, illustrates the power of building a community around retail spaces (think Gymshark, Regent’s Street). 

Through events, co-working spaces, and the Café Carrera, Porsche has created a venue where brand loyalty is nurtured in a shared, dynamic environment.

Action point: Developing a sense of community should be a key consideration - retail can’t afford to be transactional anymore. It’s an omnichannel approach. But creating spaces and opportunities for customers to engage not just with the brand but with each other, and fostering a loyal community of brand advocates can be so powerful.

The Porsche Studio Singapore offers valuable lessons for the modern retail environment. 

By focusing on immersive brand experiences, leveraging technology and design, prioritising personalisation and exclusivity, and fostering community engagement, retailers can create spaces that not only drive sales but also build lasting brand loyalty. 

The principles demonstrated by Porsche offer a format for creating retail experiences that resonate deeply with consumers. 

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Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief