BMW has never been shy about borrowing ideas from Apple. With the debut of its iDrive system in 2001, BMW became one of the first non-Apple products to adopt the naming scheme which has since seemingly worked its way into nearly every facet of our lives. Now the German automaker is taking a cue from Apple’s Genius Bars and introducing the Genius Everywhere program. The idea is basically for iPad-equipped “Geniuses” to be on hand in dealer showrooms in order to answer questions about BMW products. They will not be part of the sales staff, won’t work on commission, and are present simply to answer questions.
The big difference is that Apple’s Genius Bars specialize in helping customers with devices they already own, whereas BMW is encouraging customers to ask questions before they buy. The thinking, according to Advertising Age, is that the sales staff already has a complicated enough job, and that as the cars get more and more tech intensive, it would be beneficial to have staff members who specialize in just this one area. As unoriginal as the name might be, it does make a lot of sense, especially for BMW. As with the aforementioned iDrive system, BMW has been enthusiastically incorporating as much electronics as possible into their cars, but its customer base’s ability to understand and take full advantage of this technology hasn’t always kept pace.
The goal is to have the program fully up and running before the debut of the BMW i3 early next year. This too makes a lot of sense, as handling such a unique vehicle in a more informative way could make a big difference in sales. Of course BMW isn’t the only automaker to try and emulate Apple. Last year, Tesla proved it was not averse to adopting a similar business strategy when it began opening up small retail locations across the country.