Posted on October 17, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] vice president of North America sales and marketing, Ganesh Srivats just spoke this past week at the Fashion Tech Forum (FTF) hosted this year at Brooklyn’s Duggal Greenhouse. What was a car company doing at a fashion conference? International Business Times* reported, "by doing away with the franchise dealership model of traditional automotive companies, the San Francisco Bay Area-based company is, in fact, behaving in a way that would liken it to a luxury retailer." Case in point: "The company [had even] recently opened a retail space in a Nordstrom in Los Angeles’ shopping area The Grove."
Above: Tesla is disrupting the typical car buying process altogether (Image: FX Tribune)
Srivats also has an extensive background in fashion as he was, "a former retail and strategy executive at Burberry and came to Tesla after 16 years in retail, luxury and strategy. In July 2015, Srivats stepped into his current role and was tasked with advancing the company’s image as a major player in the luxury automotive sector... [and] Tesla has adopted what can only be likened to as 'see now, buy now' luxury car purchasing experience, thanks to the immediacy and speed of its output. The company does not sell through dealerships, but through galleries and sleek, modern stores. It’s direct to consumer."
Above: PSFK’s Piers Fawkes spoke to Tesla's Ganesh Srivats about "The Advancement of Luxury Retail" at this year's Fashion Tech Forum (Source: PSFK)
Srivats explained, "“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." He elaborates, "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."
Above: A Tesla Model S displayed inside a shopping mall (Instagram: @agung_zentyo)
Comparing Tesla to traditional franchise auto dealerships, he points out: "If you’re profit-minded and you have all of these gas-guzzling SUVS that are selling really fast, what incentive do you have to get out there and re-evangelize a new technology that’s going to be hard to sell and when you have all of this other product that moves faster? It’s for these reasons that we decided to move into the retail space because we have to control the customer experience, we have to take the ownership to educate people and we have to make sure that experience is physical and real."
That's why Tesla is disrupting the typical automotive sales model, often selling in high-end malls or fashionable shopping districts, Srivats explained: "You have to allow for open experimentation and taking chances... 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. Between fashion and tech, that’s one thing we simply share: It’s this constant challenge to innovate and to stay ahead of that curve."
*Source: International Business Times