Pulling into the Ferrari store in Maranello is more than a pit stop. We evaluated the spot from a professional perspective.
While driving a Ferrari is always a strong statement, surprisingly the holy grail for all fans of the brand’s non-car-products is more like an understatement, with regard to location. Don’t expect it to be next door to the famous and very busy Ferrari museum. Don’t mix it up with different ‘unofficial’ merchandising stores around the museum’s piazza. You’ll need to walk a bit, leaving the busy tourist scene behind, just as if you wanted to enter the gates of the manufactory. Here you’ll find the official Ferrari store – just below a Planet Hotel, whose beauty may have been at its peak at best in the early 1980’s.
However, on deeper reflection, it’s possible the spot has been chosen on purpose. Imagine hordes of international Scuderia fanatics breaking for a pit stop in this elegant place. Treating it as if it were a gift shop, it would totally change the current atmosphere of exclusivity and certainly impact on loss prevention. The Friday morning of our visit, the store was calm and peaceful as we entered the doors, so we were not at all expecting to trigger the dramatic “Roaarrrr” sound of a Ferrari engine as we entered (by crossing an invisible photocell). The six of us were each welcomed with this roar, so we can only imagine the impact of hordes of fanatics entering the store.
Inside the Pits
The first impression once inside the store is formed, of course, by the presence of an original Formula 1 Bolide in all of its glory – just to reassure doubters that they’re in the right place. A huge screen immediately transports you into the brand’s world – so there’s no question that the store creates an unmistakable Ferrari feeling. An open space, all on one level, contains all of the current collections in clothing, licensed lifestyle and merchandising products, as well as collectors items – all prancing horse-branded and the majority in the brand’s signature colours of red, yellow, black and white. Real fans of the brand will probably take a deep breath at this point (and one or two may even suppress a tear), having arrived in Ferrari’s chamber of treasures.
Cruising Around the Course
If you generally like the extroverted style of Ferrari’s products, you’ll find the place infectious and quickly become a customer of the store. There are assortments for almost everyone, even for those more temperate or with a lower budget. We liked, for example, some of the miscellaneous merchandising stuff that was unexpected, e.g. a baby’s pacifier with a Ferrari logo is fun!
There are also yellow ceramic ashtrays with the story ‘from Enzo’s desk’, items which are still being manufactured by hand in the region (without visible pricing, which creates desire). As a virtual racing freak, it may be that you simply have to own the branded game controller, even if in fact your avatar drives, let’s say, a Corvette. We also explored some finer details like the ‘Ferrari key pocket’ inside a smooth leather jacket. The fashion collections here have nothing to do with merchandising, they represent serious clothing with a spin.
The store provides a balanced mix of hard goods, soft goods, own branded, co-branded where appropriate product-wise (i.e. Puma in sporting goods) and all in clearly visible departments. We also appreciated the attentive staff – the welcome greeting along with their awareness and willingness to assist in various situations did not go unnoticed. They were proactive in pointing out specials and discounts and answered questions patiently and professionally. Notable was their effort to highlight the ‘made in Italy’ products without even being asked.
On the other hand, we discovered there was not much to engage shoppers and actively create new consumer experiences. Information about the brand or the heritage of its products or manufacturing was rare. Availability of services like home delivery (they ship worldwide on request) or even indicators that they also have a web shop were not visible, nor were social media invitations or other after-sales commitments.
Our Resumé Behind the Finish Line
Having visited the store not just for leisure, but also to get an idea of the brand’s retail performance, the six of us tried hard to achieve consensus in evaluating our impressions (see our average rating on top of this post) as there was nothing that could not have been done a little better. But what’s missing in achieving the high score here often is just details. With a professional view of the store we have some ideas for improvement, but as shoppers, Ferrari succeeded in touching us emotionally. What impressed us: it would have been easy for Ferrari managers without strong retail background to overdo the instore branding. In this case less is more and definately worth the ten on the 1-10 scale.
All in all, we enjoyed our dive into the Ferrari pit at its place of origin. The store definitely meets brand lover’s expectations and seduces the customer into enriching their lifestyle with the dynamic of Maranello’s automotive cult. Finally, as a wrap up, we were treated again to the serious “Roaarrrr” as we crossed the threshold and left the store and I must say, it felt special to throw the fire-red Ferrari shopping bags into the back of our rented Cinquecento.
About this post:
The founders of this blog met in the hills of Modena, Italy in Summer ’16 to kick off its launch. For some brand input besides work, great landscapes and slow food, they headed for the Maranello store. The author Alexander von Keyserlingk and his colleagues consult with strong brands from different professional perspectives. Therefore he was curious about the Ferrari store experience in Maranello and handed out a brief rating form to his fellow authors, right before the visit. If you want to share your opinions with Alexander, feel free to get in touch via LinkedIn directly.