Car Dealership Insights

Compete with online industry disruptors

Using design to highlight the horsepower of the in-person car buying experience

Every 10 years car dealerships need to do an interior upgrade – the cost of which can quickly add up if not properly planned in advance. For each redesign period, dealership owners need to be mindful of the integrity and longevity of the building to save costs and not start from scratch each time.

Especially in the era of online industry disruptors like Carvana, CarMax, and Autotrader, how can brick-and-mortar dealerships compete while updating and saving costs?


Highlight in-person buying perks

The first difference between buying online and shopping in store is the actual physical experience. Take advantage of it by making the space as inviting as possible. Bright natural light, without creating a glare condition, can not only highlight your vehicles but lead to increased sales with customers staying longer and spending more. Additionally, create areas where customers can experience different options for upholstery, colors, and materials. Being able to touch and see finishes in person can do way more than an online photo can do.

Interior of Mercedes-Benz Paramus

The interior of Mercedes-Benz Paramus allows for plenty of natural light and amenities for customers.

Prioritize the dealership experience beyond buyers

Given that servicing at dealerships leads to the most profit, dealerships should create an environment suitable for all customers – not just potential buyers. Making the process of getting your car serviced pleasurable can help retain long-term customers. It can also save money if a person sticks around waiting for their car to get serviced, rather than loaning out a rental. Upgrade interiors of buildings to provide spaces such as Zoom rooms, areas to work, and other amenities (one dealership even put a full deli in their building!) You can use these spaces as a way to market other accessories too, like customizations and specialty offerings.


Plan for electric vehicles

While planning for any redesigns, owners would be remiss to ignore the oncoming surge of electric vehicles. Considering the different needs electric vehicles require (enough power to charge them, the difference in serving, etc.), car dealerships should start thinking about how they will plan for more space to charge cars, as well as how to cater to those customers. Perhaps it involves having free charging stations for consumers, or other perks.


ENV has extensive experience designing dealerships for the modern age, able to compete and convert long standing customers. For more information on our automotive projects, visit our site.

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