BMW Takes Page Out of Apple's Playbook; Adds "Genius" Showroom Staff

By Trevor Dorchies | June 05, 2012
Where have we seen this before? In an attempt to bolster sales figures and close the gap with Mercedes-Benz, BMW will be adding around 3,000 "genius" employees to its showroom staff around the world. Just like the employees with the same profession over at Apple, BMW's genius employees will be armed with an iPad in order to better serve potential customers. "We tell them we work for BMW in a new, exciting role, and we sometimes refer to ourselves as the 'geeks' of BMW," said Oliver Watkins to the San Francisco Chronicle. Watkins, 21, works for Cooper Norwich, a BMW dealer in England which boasted one of the automaker's first set of geniuses back in September.
Watkins is one of an estimated 3,000 genius employees expected to join BMW's workforce worldwide, and will begin popping up in showrooms in France, Britain, China, and the Netherlands this year. The United States can expect to find a BMW genius at dealerships stateside sometime next year. So what exactly does a BMW genius do you ask? They're tasked with helping customers sync their smartphone the new vehicle and work through features like Night Vision and Active Steering. Besides being a vat of all current technology used in BMW's today, the genius employees will do all of this without pressuring you into buying the vehicle. This is part of a new sales campaign BMW is initiating in order to catch up to Mercedes-Benz in sales figures and further separate itself from Audi. This strategy was first shown off last week at BMW's new store near the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The shop is the first of its kind as it showcases the Benz brand in an attempt to attract more consumers. This is believed to help BMW keep customers and not lose any to Mercedes-Benz or Audi. Last year, about 47 percent of customers stuck with BMW while Mercedes-Benz saw a retention rate near 62 percent. Audi was in third with 37 percent of customers returning to its brand. BMW is hoping the addition of these geniuses will help reach its target goal of a 20 percent increase in sales to 2 million vehicles by 2016. Source: San Francisco Chronicle