retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Fascinating story in USA Today about how Tesla Motors, the US company that manufactures high-end, expensive electric cars, is looking to put the brand in front of consumers by opening dealerships in unusual places - like malls.

According to the story, "The Palo Alto automaker opened its 12th North American store and second in Southern California on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica on Friday. It's flanked by an Adidas store and Club Monaco, a trendy apparel seller. Parking is a block away in a public garage." It isn't just a west coast phenomenon; a similar dealership has opened in The Westchester, next to Nordstrom in an upscale mall in White Plains, New York.

The goal, the company suggests, is to position the company as being more like Apple than Chevrolet.

Now, Tesla is in a unique position to develop an unorthodox approach to sales. The company is sold out of cars at the moment, with every car manufactured already promised to specific buyers. And because it is a new company, without the legacy systems of older car manufacturers, it can find new ways of reaching out to potential customers without depending on a franchised dealership system - it gives them more control, though it also puts them at potentially greater risk.

What is instructive about this approach is the way in which it looks to get beyond the same-old, same-old as the company looks to build its brand and presence. That's something that all companies need to think about ... how to go beyond traditional approaches and find new ways to appeal to new consumers.

Because the old way of doing things simply may not be good enough anymore.
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