No Showroom, No Salesmen, Free Delivery. Vroom wants to be the Amazon of used car sales. But how do you win trust for a used car dealership? And an online one, at that?
Used Car Market Meets 2015
A new startup called Vroom wants to sell cars the way Zappos sells shoes: with a slick website, free delivery, and a return guarantee.
Having procured new money and a new brand, the biggest task ahead of the company is dissociating itself from the sleazy car salesman.
Eliminating haggling, Bloch says, is the first step. “We won’t negotiate even $1,” he says. “It’s a waste of time.” Instead, he wants to create a reputation for starting at a fair price. “You don’t go to Amazon and say, ‘I can find it somewhere else for 50 cents cheaper.'”
The anti-haggling policy starts when people sell their cars to Vroom. In order to get a quote, they take eight photos and submit the car’s VIN number. Vroom responds within minutes with an offer of what it deduces it could get for the car at an auction. It’s good for seven days, which gives the customer time to comparison shop. If she accepts the offer, Vroom sends a truck to pick the car up for free.
Vroom plans to buy even cars that it won’t be able to sell at a profit, because buying cars is one of its strategy for selling cars. Once customers have a good experience selling, the hope is that they’ll trust the company when it comes time to buy a car, too.
Another trust-building strategy is a seven-day money-back guarantee. You can buy a car, try it out for seven days, and if you don’t like it, Vroom will pick it up and give you a refund. Bloch says the company sees few returns, but the option makes people feel more comfortable making the purchase.
People are already buying cars from Vroom, which says it does about $20 million in sales per month, and the company partners with banks to offer a marketplace of financing options so that they can do so.
It’s a business model that makes sense: Because it does not spend hours selling to customers, maintaining brick-and-mortar stores, or paying commissions, Vroom can run more efficiently than a traditional dealership (the last step is moving transactions completely online instead of relying on a call center).
Source: Fastcompany Sarah Kessler
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