Earlier this summer, Tesla’s Vice President of North American sales, Ganesh Srivats, said that the automaker is working on a ‘drastic redesign of its retail concept’ ahead of Model 3 launch. He isn’t offering many details about what the redesign will entail, but he elaborated on Tesla’s retail strategy last week at the 2016 Fashion Tech Forum.
He said that we should expect Tesla’s stores to evolve from the “assisted store experience” to the “autonomous store experience”.
Srivats, a former senior VP at British fashion house Burberry before joining Tesla last year, was right at home at Fashion Tech Forum, a conference described as “a space for fashion and technology leaders to come together to better understand how each industry was approaching the future of retail.”
His experience in high-end fashion is already highly influencing Tesla’s retail strategy. After a search on LinkedIn, Electrek found that Tesla hired over a dozen store and regional sales managers from the fashion industry since Srivats took over retail at the automaker.
Some of the new managers were directly working for Srivats at Burberry, but others are also coming from other established fashion brands like Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany.
While selling clothes and electric vehicles are completely different things, those people have a lot experience managing retail spaces in high-end malls with high foot traffic, which is where Tesla is going against the auto industry and trying to expand its own retail presence.
Srivats said during the forum (quotes via IBTimes)
“We want to be where the customers already are. You want to be where the customers are walking up and down the street, buying their coffee or buying their clothes,”
He also elaborated on Tesla’s future retail experience:
“One of the things that you will see evolving at Tesla stores in the future is the intuition behind retail. When you go online at home, no one sits next to you and tells you where to click. We’re talking about the autonomous store experience as opposed to the assisted store experience.”
With the Tesla Model 3 and a significant expansion of Tesla’s vehicle lineup in the coming years, the company expects that its retail effort will have to adapt in order to support the growth. He offered some more details how Tesla is planning to scale:
“We spend a lot of time thinking about simplification – one touch contracts, one-touch leasing. So you can speed up the process. You can go into your iPhone right now and buy a Tesla. And that’s how we’re going to scale. It’s through the diversification of ways in which we are going to reach people,”
Additionally, Tesla’s retail presence is expected to change if the upcoming merger with SolarCity goes through. The company will sell its energy storage and solar systems directly from its stores. Tesla currently has around 200 retail locations around the world and it is trying to add 1 every 4 days until the end of the year.