For 2012, Ducati North America has launched a new retail design program aimed at improving the customer experience and communicating the "story" of the Ducati brand.
The move, which will see changes in design and fixturing and participating Ducati dealerships throughout the U.S., is part of the Italian marque's new corporate changes announced at its 2011 dealer meeting. These improvements included the addition of new staff members, improved communications between DNA and the factory in Italy, and a new IT system meant to support and synchronize marketing, dealer support, product availability and delivery information.
With the investment in infrastructure and product R&D — see the Diavel and Panigale for proof of this — it's now time to focus on improving the retail-consumer interface, says Dominique Cheraki, Ducati North America general manager.
"Everything we've done is with the same goal and objective in mind, which is to satisfy the customer," Cheraki says. "We know very well that most of our customers, they don't just buy a bike, they buy a full story so we need to make the store really attractive. "It's very important for us to work with our dealer network to implement this new retail identity program. It isn't just a revamping of the show room, it's a completely new process to properly design the [store]."
The first store to undergo the transformation is Ducati New York, Ducati's flagship store in Manhattan. The unveiling today coincides with the moto-press happenings going on this weekend during the New York City stop of the Progressive International Motorcycle Show tour.
The new design — which features elements of the brand's trademark Italian design, performance and lifestyle through images, furniture and fixtures — will give equal weight to the show room and the store's service area. Given the legendary attention to detail that Ducatisti show to their bike's performance and service, taking the service department out of the "back shop" is important. As Cheraki says, "Service is part of the experience. The work being done by those technicians, who have been trained by Ducati, should be shown to the customer."
The space in-between, which in many dealerships is a customer lounge or reception area, is being called the Red Zone. There will be a specific design to this area, Cheraki says, that includes a social area, seating area, a help counter and video monitors.
Since the initiative's introduction at the dealers show in Florida, more than 50 percent of DNA's dealer network has signed up for the project — among these are dealerships that account for 60 to 70 percent of DNA's sales, Cheraki says. "I think it's a pretty good result," he adds.
Overall, Cheraki notes that the design changes are meant to be easy for a dealer to implement. The product is the star of the show," he says. "We don't have to create a show around the bikes, apparel and accessories. Let's just give them a nice way to present them."
The retail design announcement come alongside reports from DNA that it saw a 43 percent growth in motorcycle sales in 2011, compared to 2010. The company also reports that it has a record market share in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and that for the first time, North America is now Ducati's No. 1 market.
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