True to its slogan 'Simply Clever', ŠKODA is always on the lookout for fresh ideas to make it stand out in the mobility sector. That same drive for originality was behind ŠKODA Belgium's decision to open its first ŠTORE in Brussels' Docks shopping centre. "This is the first initiative of its kind in Belgium," says Karl Lechat, CEO of ŠKODA Belgium. "No other carmaker has ever opened an outlet where visitors can both explore the range of vehicles on offer and learn about the many means of transport they can use alongside their cars for optimum mobility."
Visitors to the ŠTORE can view and purchase both ŠKODA's latest models and a number of alternative mobility solutions offered by ŠKODA's partners, such as Ahooga's folding bicycles and Segway's electric scooters. They can also receive personalised advice on the most efficient way to combine their ŠKODA with other mobility solutions for their day-to-day travel, and try out various bicycles and other personal transportation devices. The ŠTORE also sells a range of safety accessories for use in urban environments, including helmets, lights and hi-vis vests.
With stress levels rising and journey times lengthening, flexible, efficient mobility has never been more essential to our quality of life. A recent study by Acerta revealed that more than 11% of private-sector employees already use another means of transport (e.g. bicycle, public transport) alongside their cars, and this proportion is growing every year.
The ŠTORE is so much more than a conventional dealership, where cars are displayed in a traditional showroom for visitors to admire: it is a veritable platform for sharing information and knowledge about the latest mobility solutions with cutting-edge digital tools. Moreover, the ŠTORE is breaking new ground by promoting the use of complementary means of transport while also reasserting ŠKODA Belgium's status as an importer of cars. To achieve these goals, ŠKODA decided to break away from the purely commercial approach it currently employs and instead meet customers in a new location and a completely different context. "It's no coincidence that we chose to open our store in an experience-focused shopping centre like this one. People see shopping centres as places to have fun and relax, which is why we wanted to establish a brand presence in this rather unusual environment," continues Lechat.
In the very heart of the capital
The Docks shopping centre opened in 2016 and is located in the very heart of Brussels. Its particularly ecological and environmentally-friendly design makes it the perfect place to talk about urban mobility. Visitors to the ŠTORE will soon have the chance to get a free mobility check-up from ŠKODA's experts, who will use the latest technology from Lab Box – D'Ieteren Auto's incubator for start-ups – to conduct a personalised analysis of visitors' mobility needs. The ŠTORE has a sleek, contemporary look, with Scandinavian furniture from Sofacompany and numerous touch screens where visitors can learn about both conventional and alternative means of transport. The ŠTORE is open to all: anyone interested in mobility solutions is welcome to drop by between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday and between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays.
The ŠTORE is not a pop-up; it is intended to become a permanent fixture on the Brussels mobility scene. Its unique location coupled with its engaging and perhaps even surprising content should quickly make it a Brussels hotspot. What better way to describe it than Simply Clever? In another bold move that dovetails with the brand's values, ŠKODA opened a Clever Store in downtown Haarlem (Netherlands) in late 2018. This singular shop offers remarkable solutions such as smart thermostats, robot vacuum cleaners and other technologies designed to make life easier. ŠKODA is keen to establish itself as more than just a carmaker and intends to keep on innovating and surprising the public. The trailblazing ŠTORE in the Docks shopping centre – which is truly unique thanks to its original take on multimodal mobility – is just one more example of ŠKODA's capacity for invention.
ŠKODA started off making bicycles and motorbikes before switching to cars, and can thus boast over 120 years' experience in mobility. It is now much more than just a carmaker. The brand firmly believes in the future of multimodal mobility, a conviction that pushed it to offer a practical response to the 'last mile' problem at the Brussels Motor Show in January. Customers who bought a new car were given the choice between a conventional discount and a smaller discount plus an electric scooter or a voucher for an Ahooga folding bicycle. "There was a lot of uptake from members of the public and companies alike," says Lechat. "This experience made us aware of the growing interest in alternative forms of mobility and the potential market for them