Citroen – A Social Retail Experience In Paris

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Tracking the way social media and digital is being used in retail environments has become much more intense recently.  Just a year ago, the number of new initiatives was rather easy to follow, even worldwide.  Retailers in London and New York were leading the party.  After a swing through Asia, I have had a chance to catch up with the state of the art out East.  Recently, I have found a few new initiatives in Paris.  I wanted to focus on the Citroën C_42 showroom, located at 42 avenue des Champs-Elysées, which has 1.5MM people coming through its door annually.  Begun in 2011 with a Citroen Social Club (see below), Citroen continues to push the concept of social retail.

Social store front

Citroen brazenly flashes its Citroen C_42 by fans logo on the front of its showroom.  It’s a shame there isn’t a bit of interactivity or social functionality (QR etc) on the window.  Otherwise, you can hardly miss the theme once you are inside.  The concept seems to be as much about education as social engagement.  Each major social media is carefully explained in French and English.   And at each level of the showroom, there is a different social media on display with two permitting a legitimate social experience (YouTube on 2nd floor and Instagram on the 4th floor).

Citroen C_42 by fans, the myndset digital marketing

Social Club – an integral part of social retail

Citroen started its Citroen Social Club in 2011 featuring a wall on the 4th floor with a stream that captures all #Citroen mentions on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, FlickR, Foursquare, etc.  The only shame for the Citroen Social Club is that it is not very interactive… You can post to Facebook directly thanks to a dedicated interface below the 4 screens.  {Note that BNP Paribas has also created a social wall}.  This summer, Citroen went further and created a specific website dedicated to collecting its social graph: Citroen Live.  As they proclaim on the page – Citroen Live is everywhere, all the time!  They have a handy “social map” that allows you to find each country-specific social media presence.  For example, here is Citroen’s social footprint in the UK.

Citroen Social Club, the myndset digital marketing brand strategy

Citroen Social Club, started in 2011

C_42 crowd-sourced showroom

Citroen initiated this summer (starting in September ’13) a “crowd-sourced” showroom, where fans around the world are invited to vote for which car should be put on show each week.  They created this dedicated Facebook app C_42byfans.  However, you can no longer vote as the initiative was just for the last quarter of the year.

Grooving on YouTube

Citroen Youtube, The Myndset digital marketing brand strategy

Citroen Youtube green room, The Myndset digital marketingThe first time I used this YouTube cabin, I had a little trouble following the instructions between starting on the kiosk, in the green room (right) and then coming back out.  Moreover, the video I made the first time never arrived in my inbox (my mistake possibly?).  Anyway, on my second visit (I had to go back), I successfully created my 6-seconds of fame….  You can see for yourself the rendition here.  I was helped by some ambient music!  Not bad effect.  And, the evening, after a little scroll through I was able to find myself on the Facebook page and Citroen’s YouTube channel.

Send yourself a Citroen Instagram

On the third floor is a rather muted Pinterest activation, featuring an non-interactive podium about Pinterest. More interesting, is the Instagram experience.  You can climb into a dedicated booth on the 4th floor and take a couple of options of yourself to post on Citroen’s Instagram page (via Facebook).  The photo is artistically recomposed using other photos from Citroen’s social presence (see below).  One of the minor features I particularly appreciated was the keyboard with the email ending automatically proposed on the right.  I.e. you could type in your username and just add @gmail.com or @hotmail.fr etc… Handy, especially since electronic keyboards can sometimes be a little finickity.

CItroen instagram, The Myndset digital marketing brand strategy

citroen social club gmail, The Myndset digital marketing brand strategyAll in all, the Citroen C_42 Showroom is quite an engaging experience.  The activities in the showroom are designed to send users to Citroen’s various social media pages — where Citroen can presumably consider the return on investment.  Compared with Audi’s flagship showroom in London, there are lot more options and features to explore, including a 4D film you can experience in the basement (2 euros for adults, 1 euro for children).  Overall, Citroen has clearly taken social retail to another level.  Granted, this is less a selling space than a brand showcase.  However, I will be keen to see how they proceed.

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