Expanding its base in smaller cities, Harley-Davidson inaugurated its first concept store in India in Kolhapur. Christened as 'Warrior Harley-Davidson', the concept store has been designed to accommodate Harley's customer experience program on a smaller scale. The Harley-Davidson concept store has been specifically designed for Tier II and III cities where the company does not have retail presence. Instead, such outlets will help improve accessibility for customers with respect to sales and service requirements. Not just Harley, but other manufacturers too have taken this route especially when expanding in new markets.
(The Harley-Davidson concept store has a bike display area, lounge and service setup)
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The Warrior Harley-Davidson concept store has been opened at 1/B 2 NH 4 A/P Sarnobatwadi, Kolhapur, Maharashtra. In an area of 3000 sq. ft., the store houses a bike display, PA and GM display, a customer lounge and service setup. Kolhapur boasts of about 100 Harley owners at present in and around the city and the concept store is expected to bring a substantial hike in that number as after sales support become accessible.
That said, for a brand-driven company like Harley-Davidson, the new concept store will also be instrumental in creating awareness about the brand itself; as well as give an opportunity to potential customers to a part of HOG (Harley Owners Group) events.
Commenting on the launch, Harley-Davidson, VP and MD - International Markets, Marc McAllister said "Our focus has always been on developing the culture of leisure motorcycling in India. We expect the next level of our growth to come in from Tier II and III cities and expansion to these markets is an important part of our strategy. Our first concept store is step in the same direction by taking the brand closer to enthusiasts and giving them an opportunity to experience the lifestyle."
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However, Harley isn't the first manufacturer to offer something like this in India. The idea of concept stores have been implemented by other manufacturers including Royal Enfield as well as Piaggio. Beyond the motorcycle dealerships, Royal Enfield has apparel stores across India that are more of lifestyle outlets and retail everything from riding gear to apparel. In fact, RE also has a concept of Exclusive stores globally similar to that of Harley, which is intended to help the company establish its presence in the respective market.
Meanwhile, Piaggio India has opened the Motoplex range of dealerships in the country since 2015, keeping up with the company's global outline of opening lifestyle motorcycle dealerships that serve as brand builders as well as retail outlets for Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa. More recently, Yamaha Motor India opened its first ever scooter boutique store in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and calls it a one stop solution for both scooters and fashion.