Spontaneous walk-in purchases have become a common occurrence.
Lincoln is one of the few American manufacturers that has survived after over a century of operation. Despite being owned by the Ford Motor Company, it has managed to maintain a niche customer base in the U.S. market since its inception. The iconic brand has already issued an unofficial roadmap of its upcoming EV strategy, but until those products come to life, it still has to move units of its existing range.
Lincoln has successfully covered various crossover segments but currently, there are no battery-electric vehicles that exist to compete against the likes of the very popular Tesla products. This awkward shift in market trends has affected the brand's sales figures but a boutique Sanderson Lincoln dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona, is showing that there is a unique strategy that can be applied when it comes to selling premium-badged cars powered by fossil fuels.
Those expecting the facility to be a mega-dealership will be surprised to learn that the successful branch is in fact a boutique location measuring just 4,200-square feet in size. This is big enough to keep about five vehicles on display. It opened its doors last year as a new business concept for the brand and since then, it has found that walk-in foot traffic sales have been a common occurrence.
The dealership records that its inaugural sale took place when a passer-by looking for patio furniture at a neighboring business wandered in, fancied the look of the Lincoln Nautilus, and traded in his six-month-old Cadillac for the premium crossover. This spontaneous purchasing act is not a common trend among today's consumers who prefer to intensely research cars before making a decision.
A similar occurrence was noticed shortly after when a couple purchasing sporting wear at a nearby Lululemon branch strolled in and placed a $120,000 order for the latest Lincoln Navigator after an hour of inspecting the floor model. Speaking to Automotive News, the dealership's director, Patrick Heigl, noted that spontaneous purchases for walk-in customers have been translating into impressive profits.
What's even more curious is that this type of customer is not noticed at its larger and more traditional dealership located in Glendale. He says, "We wouldn't get that at our other store. This [area] is more of a destination." The main dealership measures 16 acres which is quite a size bigger than the boutique outlet.
The boutique location is the first of its kind for the brand which added the smaller floorplan in 2019. The new store concept was the result of a decision that provided dealerships with more flexibility. Heigl adds, "We're going to show you who we are and what our products are on your own terms. In the luxury space, we're finding people still want to be able to touch you, in a sense. They want you to be there with them."
Despite the space being able to accommodate five cars, the dealership often limits the space to four cars so that it can open up some space and allow customers to feel less claustrophobic. Between the cars are some lounge areas and open-plan pavilions housing couches and screens. This is where dealers and customers can discuss desired specifications and purchasing options.
Heigl explains that the bulk of its sales are made over a cappuccino served at its coffee bar. The seven employees present at the dealership are all trained baristas that come from outside of the auto industry. He says, "They work as a team. Everybody can do everything. They can make you a latte, chai, Americano, and then sell you a car all the way through."
Downscaling its dealership platform to a more one-on-one setup has proven to be even more of a beneficial concept now that car stock is throttled due to the supply chain crisis. In a bid to combat this, Sanderson Lincoln has decided to order a specific configuration and have it remotely delivered to the customer once it is assembled.