Car dealerships aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when talking about retailers, but caregivers are one of the pivotal retailers in the US economy. And, like traditional brick and mortar retailers, car dealers are also tackling new challenges in technology. From buying cars on smartphones to loans and self-driving qualifications, technology has steadily penetrated the automotive industry, and in 2017, three tech companies took the next step in this autopin technology revolution.
Buying a car online has dramatically changed the financial aspect of car ownership. Three technology companies; Blinker, VinAdvisor, and RevdApp recently participated in TweetChat with Michelin to discuss what they see from customers and what their needs mean for the industry as a whole.
These three companies represent three distinct aspects of buying a car online, and we have to talk about where the industry is heading and how it affects customers’ financial understanding of car ownership. All three of these aspects affect the customer experience of a car retailer.
Blinker is a car app that helps you buy and sell cars, and you’ve decided to make your used car a thing of the past. Leaders saw interesting trends on their platform. In other words, apps like this are a win-win for both buyers and sellers. Blinker buyers are saving about $1,500 per transaction, and sellers are getting around $2,500 more than when they trade cars. An app with an average selling price of $12,500 would have split the seller and commission so 30% would have gone directly to the dealer. Blinker’s disruptive technology can’t yet take auto dealerships out of business, but customers seem happy enough to save significant money on both sides of the deal by proposing a long-term shift towards control and transparency in the car buying process.
Shop, compare, buy is the mantra of VinAdvisor app, and transparency is the name of the game. Most people question the dealer and the price of their vehicles. You can also make suggestions based on appearance or condition. VinAdvisor’s CEO Jim Dykstra started the company because he knows how frustrating it can be to not get the right answer. Dealers’ old-fashioned car sales skills, such as couples in designer clothes, are often cited at higher prices than single men in shabby shoes. Financing options and deals offered by dealers never seem that way. Now thanks to the technology, anyone can do their own research on the VinAdvisor app without having to ask a salesperson. According to Dkystra, “you can write an offer, negotiate it online, then sign in within an hour and set a time to drive. Save time and always get a fair price.”
RevdApp is a car-sharing app that helps drivers track miles and information. Rather than that, it helps people rent cars for cash. Whether you are an exotic Ferrari or a citizen, the owners set the rental price for a day or an hour. To reduce the likelihood of an accident, theft or injury, all applicants are thoroughly screened by RevdApp. It’s a feature of the app that facilitates the connection between the owner and the driver, and it could be a sign of how people move around for decades to come. RevdApp Filipe Pinto’s CEO says: “We’re seeing those who spoke 12-18 months ago and those who oppose car sharing, especially those who own exotic cars, are now returning to know more from us. Our technology identifies responsible drivers. We identify responsible drivers and the best-maintained cars to provide a safe and fun experience.”
Whatever you save for the driver, it seems like we can expect significant changes on the horizon. With the technology not slowing down, we see more car deals happening outside of the dealership and more people will be involved in economic sharing. With the evidence I have seen and heard, the future will be brighter for customers and will be towards greater transparency when it comes to buying, owning and selling vehicles. But this is a big challenge for auto retailers. Because these technologies are readily available to customers, and Gen Z customers today are all about these types of technologies, you must embrace them and make them part of your regular practice to succeed.