3 Innovative Retail Technologies for Online Car Shopping

Auto Retailers Are Facing Challenges With Innovative Retail Technologies

Salesman with customer in car showroom
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While an auto dealership is not the first thing to come to your mind when we are talking retail, care dealers are truly one of the backbone retailers of the US economy. And just like the traditional brick and mortar retail stores, auto dealers are dealing with new challenges in technology too. From buying a car on your smartphone, to qualifying for a loan and autonomous driving, technology has been steadily encroaching on the automotive industry and 2017 saw three technology companies taking the next step in this Auto-Fin-tech revolution.

Buying a car online has dramatically changed the financial aspect of car ownership. Three technology companies; BlinkerVinAdvisor and RevdApp recently participated in a TweetChat with Michelin to discuss what they’ve seen from their customers and what customer demands mean for the industry at large.

These three companies represent three distinct aspects of car buying online and this is what they had to say about where the industry is headed and how it will impact a customer’s financial interest in car ownership. All three of these aspects impact the customer experience in the auto retail stores. 

Blinker

Blinker is a car app that helps you buy and sell cars, and it is determined to make used car lots a thing of the past. Its leaders have seen some interesting trends on their platform. Namely, that apps like these are a win-win for both buyers and sellers. Blinker buyers are saving about $1,500 per transaction and sellers are getting about $2,500 more than they would have if they traded their car in.

With an average sale price of $12,500, the app split the commission with the seller which is a small cut compared to the 30 percent that would have gone straight to the dealer. Blinker’s disruptive technology may not put car dealerships out of business just yet, but customers seem happy enough to suggest a long-term change toward greater control and transparency in the car buying process that leads to significant savings on both sides of the deal.

VinAdvisor

Shop, compare, buy is the mantra of the VinAdvisor (link to www.vinadvisor.net) app, and transparency is the name of the game. Most people question dealerships and their shifting vehicle prices, one may suggest they are based on appearance or status. The CEO of VinAdvisor, Jim Dykstra, started the company because he knew just how frustrating it is to never get a straight answer. Old school car sales techniques in the dealerships such as couples wearing designer clothes are often quoted higher prices than single men in shabby shoes remain prevelant. Financing options and deals offered by the dealership are never quite what they seem. Now thanks to technology, anyone can do their own research on VinAdvisor app without questioning the salesperson. According to Dkystra one can “write your offer, negotiate online, then set a time to sign and drive in less than an hour. Save hours and always be sure you got a fair price.”

RevdApp

The RevdApp is a car sharing app that helps drivers track their miles and information. More than that it helps people loan out their cars for cash. Whether it’s an exotic Ferrari or a Civic, the owner sets their rental price to take it out for a day or an hour.

All applicants are vetted thoroughly by RevdApp in order to reduce chances of accident, theft, or injury. It’s the app’s function to facilitate the connection between owner and driver, and it may be a sign of how people choose to get around in the next few decades. The CEO of RevdApp Filipe Pinto observes: “We are witnessing that people with whom we spoke 12-18 months back and who were vehemently opposed to sharing their cars, especially those who own exotic cars, are now coming back to us to know more about our technology identifies responsible drivers. We identify responsible drivers, and the most well maintained cars, to deliver safe and fun experiences.”

Whatever is in store for drivers, it seems as though we can expect significant and disruptive changes on the horizon. Technology is not slowing down and we’re likely to see more car transactions taking place outside the dealership, and more people taking part in sharing economy.

From the evidence I’ve seen and heard, the future is bright for customers and will lead toward greater transparency when it comes to buying, owning, and selling a vehicle. However, it marks a great challenge for the auto retailers. Since these technologies are easily available to a customer and todays' Gen Z customer being all about these types of technologies, they will need to embrace these technologies and make them part of their regular practice to be successful. 

Written by Marcin Migdal Director of Marketing at Loans.cars LinkedIn