This comes from a conversation on PYMNTS’s Commerce Voices Series, sponsored by Checkout.com, featuring Ann Yauger, VP of Product, CarMax, and Eric Martin, VP of User Experience Design.
The timing of the omnichannel experience redesign was serendipitous as used car prices skyrocketed after new car shipments were curtailed by COVID-related supply chain disruptions in 2020 and 2021.
“Right now, used car prices are skyrocketing. Interest rates are high right now,” he said. “We think our new product will be especially helpful, so we’re thrilled that the timing is right for this moment. I’m looking for help figuring out how to find the car.”
The two executives agreed that digital would remove much of the traditional friction of walking into a used car dealership and going through the paperwork, pricing and pain.
Martin introduced an instant offer solution for CarMax trade-ins. This is an online vehicle evaluation before going to a physical location. “This powerful unlock allows us not only to think of our digital tools as remote digital progression tools, but also to unlock value for customers who come to our stores,” he said.
CarMax’s online prequalification process is another way to improve the on-site experience before consumers arrive. “Providing our customers with a digital-first experience means giving them a powerful tool to browse digital lots,” he said.
Acknowledging that “customers don’t trust car salespeople very much,” Yauger adds: known for that. ”
read more: CarMax faced growing consumer demand for cheaper cars
joy of self-improvement
About 53% of retail sales are following the omnichannel path, as revealed on its FY2023 Q2 earnings call in September, so CarMax will continue to invest in used cars and the cars that sell them. We are trying to get rid of the old discomforts of haggling and uncertainty.
Yauger said online prequalification and instant offers epitomize how today’s auto dealers “use the digital part of the experience to reinforce our brand value of transparency.”
Prequalification, she said, is a “relatively new product. It just rolled out nationally. We’ve been testing it for a year and it’s been a big hit with conversions. It provides accurate data on conversion numbers.” but without it the scaling wouldn’t have happened [performing]”
This process searches CarMax’s entire inventory to give consumers options when they can’t afford to get the car they want.
“This takes your credit scenario [and] We do it on every car you get approved for,” she said.
What’s more, what’s passed on to shoppers is “the actual monthly payment, not the estimated monthly payment.”
This avoids sticker shock and shopper disappointment, rather than making all the calculations on the fly and growing anxiety while the shopper walks around the showroom. “At CarMax, we have no vested interest in buying a car that’s too expensive for you to handle,” she said. I am thinking.”
Martin says: This is part of a very powerful experience for your customers. Turn that experience into a dashboard for your customers. ”
See also CarMax Empowers Customers with Self-Progress Capabilities
Solving the Used Car Conundrum in the COVID Era
According to Martin, a digital dashboard of funding prequalifications and preferences “empowers customers and salespeople to have conversations before visiting many locations and interacting with salespeople. “There is.” It’s “not necessarily what you can buy, but how we match what you can buy with what we have.”
At that point, the cumbersome steps occurred online, and “they did vehicle-specific loan applications, looked up taxes and fees, and completed that work through checkout. It’s a moment to celebrate the purchase instead of concentrating.”
Yauger agreed, noting that the most common complaint in the CarMax survey was spending hours (if not a whole day) filling out forms at the dealership. “Now, digital can eliminate that pain point…whether before or after you visit the store, the time you spend in the store becomes the reason you are there: to see the car, to get the car. Or something positive.”