BMW, the luxury carmaker, is launching a new model in Singapore via a branded store on the Lazada e-commerce platform in what is claimed as a first for an auto brand.

BMW Asia and Performance Motors Limited have embarked on an exclusive partnership with Lazada for the launch of the new BMW 1 Series on LazMall in Singapore.

From Monday next week, Marketing Interactive reports, customers will be able to place a booking fee on the BMW LazMall store to secure a limited low promotional interest, after which they be invited to view the car and finalise the purchase.

Christopher Wehner, MD of BMW Group Asia, called it an “exciting” pilot programme for the company, as the partnership expands the brand’s customer touchpoints beyond the showroom and into people’s homes.

“We hope to gain deeper insights into our customers’ interest in engaging with the BMW brand via this platform,” he added.

More activations are likely to follow according to Brenda Pek, marketing director at BMW Asia. “Once we understand our customers’ interest in engaging with the BMW brand via this platform, we will evaluate the possibility of offering other products or experiences on the BMW LazMall,” she explained.

The move is in line with BMW Group’s global focus on digitalisation to keep up with customers’ online behaviours. “A digital presence is integral to our holistic integrated communication approach that builds strong customer brand experience and relationship,” said Pek.

The brand has a history of embracing e-commerce channels. In 2016, it launched Retail Online, where potential buyers could answer questions to suggest an appropriate model which they were able to then customise. Users could select their nearest dealer to process the transaction there and then or set up a time to visit for a test-drive.

A year later, it began selling branded merchandise and autoparts on Lazada and Indonesia’s MatahariMall. And earlier this year it opened a flagship store on in China – making BMW the only premium autobrand to offer maintenance and after-sales services via e-commerce channels.

Sourced from Marketing Interactive, The Drum, aCommerce, China Daily; additional content by WARC staff