The future of car dealerships: Lessons in home delivery from Carvana

Líder Global de Mobilidade

fevereiro 28, 2023

In our Automotive D2C Whitepaper, we explore the changes in customer expectations that are driving automotive original equipment manufacturers to shift into D2C business practices and some of the steps to take now to meet that direct to customer future. One service to be considered is order online/deliver to door services.

Buy online/deliver to door services for used cars, like those offered by Carvana and Carwow, have become increasingly popular in the automotive industry in recent years. These services allow consumers to shop for and purchase a vehicle entirely online, and have the vehicle delivered to their driveway. While these services may be convenient and hassle-free for consumers, there are also several issues that should be considered.

Carvana trucking delivering a used carImage credit: Lawr -

Challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers with direct delivery

One issue with buy online/deliver to door services is the lack of transparency. When purchasing a vehicle in person, consumers can physically inspect the vehicle and ask questions about its condition and history. With an online purchase, it’s more difficult, but not impossible, to get a clear understanding of the vehicle's condition and any potential issues it may have. This can lead to dissatisfied customers when the vehicle’s condition is not what the consumer was expecting, causing returns and substantial customer service follow-up.

While most buy online/deliver to door services make efforts to ensure timely and smooth deliveries, there is an inherent risk of delivery delays or damage to the vehicle during transportation. This can be frustrating for consumers and lead to a negative perception of the overall experience.

In addition, some consumers may have concerns about the lack of a personal connection with a brand representative when purchasing a vehicle online. The process of buying a car can be intimidating, and having a live person to guide them through the process can be helpful. With an online purchase, consumers may feel more isolated, lacking the personal support they expect.

Phone screen with live chat displayedWhile most buy online/deliver to door services offer financing options, the process may not be as straightforward as it is in person. This can be confusing and frustrating for some consumers, particularly if they are not familiar with the process of financing a vehicle online.

Shifting automotive OEMs to a customer-first mindset

Many people lead busy lives and may not have the time or energy to spend hours at a dealership negotiating the purchase of a vehicle. Buy online/deliver to door services can be completed from the comfort of the consumer's own home, saving them time and effort. The key to a successful service like this is to setup the proper technical infrastructure and operational solutions.

Much of the Automotive D2C Whitepaper is about the mindset shifts that need to come to Automotive to survive into the future. The challenges mentioned above are largely unavoidable. Therefore, the brands that are successful will be the ones who can respond to the difficulties in a way that enhances the customer buying journey rather than adds further complications. Customer care offerings are never more important than they are in a D2C model.

Planning for online live agent support and availability, coupled with a solid chat bot/AI implementation for all phases of the automotive buying journey can help alleviate many of the hiccups in the process. The combination of order online/driveway delivery services with strong customer care options and associates will help to increase brand loyalty among your audience.

Finding new automotive success in D2C delivery

Buying online/delivering to door services have potential issues that need to be considered and addressed.

These include:

  • Lack of transparency. (Not seeing the car)
  • Potential delivery delays or problems with process
  • Less personal connection with a salesperson
  • Anxiety with the financing and payment processes

Despite these risks, these services can be a great option for busy consumers or for those who prefer to conduct business online. It provides OEMs the opportunity to engage with a growing customer base that wants to avoid the hassle of visiting a dealership. Putting a strong focus on customer care options through proper planning, execution, and investments are key to ensure a minimization of risk and a successful expansion with this business model.

Automotive D2C: when, not If

Taking a closer look at the motivations of car buyers and future D2C commerce strategies

Download our D2C automotive guide