The Showroom Still Matters

As we make our way through the COVID-19 pandemic and watch how quickly business is changing, one can’t help but think about the future of the retail showroom. There’s certainly been a lot of chatter about it.

You cannot argue that the pandemic hasn’t accelerated the rate at which people buy their cars online. But even if the vehicle itself is ultimately purchased online, for most there is still no substitute for experiencing a product in person, especially a product as integral, personal and frankly, expensive as their next vehicle.

And that’s why showrooms are here to stay even as the showroom experience continues to change.

Automotive technologies are evolving at a remarkable rate. In fact, vehicle capability will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 100, driving a retail training evolution in terms of what consumers need to learn, experience, and understand about the new technologies, functionality and capabilities of their next vehicle.

Despite digital showroom and purchase trends, test drives and immersive product demonstrations will become more important than ever as consumers encounter unfamiliar technology that brings up questions that Google searches, user forums and even online conferencing alone cannot answer or demonstrate.

This complexity of new technology coupled with the well-documented change in generational attitudes toward “selling” or “being sold” in general is driving a subtle but all-important shift in retail training that emphasizes interaction behavior as much as product knowledge. Today and tomorrow’s high-success dealers need to make sure employees are acting as more of a guide or curator to the consumer rather than the traditional “sage on stage” salesperson. Not to mention being equipped to answer questions and demonstrate specifics on new product realities like e-powerplants, and new systems interface in a V2X world.

Getting behind this heightened level of training potentially benefits dealers in more than just increased sales. According to the 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, 94 percent of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. So by getting behind the training necessary to fully support the evolving retail showroom experience, dealers are not only helping their employees get smarter, but they are also reducing costly turnover by enabling—and demonstrably supporting—employee success.

The showroom still matters—perhaps more than ever even as consumers spend less time in them. Dealers who see the showroom experience as essential, evolving and something that will always have a place in the automotive retail experience/process, are one step ahead of those who think they know what’s coming—or going away.

About S1Concepts

S1Concepts is a complete solution providing marketing, training, and exhibition services to companies to help educate, drive, and deliver experiences to their customers. For more information, please visit


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