Five questions for Asif Rana
Asif Rana on creating a unique retail experience.
How does the reality of your job compare with what people think you do?
My kids think I’m just bossing people around, like I do at home. My friends think it’s a fantastic place and envy me because it’s such a cool space to work in. My job is to make sure that our team has the right conditions to create a great experience for our customers, and to ensure that they’re having a good time while doing that.
Tell us about a trend that is shaping your area of work at the moment.
I think that what we’re doing is a completely new way to showcase and sell cars. It’s a very different approach from other car makers. A lot of them have big halls with a lot of different models, whereas we only showcase two. The customer is usually only interested in one car, and they might be disappointed that the salesman doesn’t have all the answers to their questions. Which would of course be very hard if you have a huge range of cars to keep track of. And I think that’s probably the most important thing: the extra value that we can provide our customers by meeting them in person. It’s through this interaction that you can create a deeper relationship with the brand and our products. When people visit our spaces, we’re not making an assessment of whether they will actually buy a car or not. We want to provide a great experience for all our visitors, no matter their reason for being there that day.
What is your favorite invention (you can’t say electrification)?
Oh, I would have to say the cellphone. Especially in these times, where it makes it so easy to socialise. I like to have daily video calls with the team, and also with my family. I see my colleagues every day, but not my family, so it’s very comforting to at least see them on video!
What has happened/changed in your area of work in the last 10 years?
I’ve been in retail for about 20 years and have always been working close to the customer. I’m very target-focused and have always tried to improve myself and my work as well as my employees by having defined goals to achieve. I always try to make a difference for others and all these things have stayed the same throughout my career, although the projects and areas in which I’ve applied them have varied.
What makes you hopeful for the future?
I’ve seen the good in people. Especially in these times. I see a bright future where we will be more thankful for what we have, be more empathetic and take better care of each other and the environment.
Design Fest Ghent: caramel, corn, and circular creations
When visiting Ghent this spring, one may have caught the smell of caramel, sugar cane, and corn. Especially around Brabantdam 31. Not because the circus was in town, but because of another event. Design Fest Ghent, a new biennial design festival, showcases ground-breaking designs and sustainable innovations. Like the sweet-smelling, circular creation BreaZea.