The Internet is the ultimate Game Changer, we’ve seen it completely alter the course of entire industries (just ask an old school travel agent or securities broker). Luckily, the auto industry has repelled being swallowed whole.
Let’s talk about auto retailers that are busting the mold and trying to offer the shopper a fresh new "shopping game". The game is still alive and well, consumers still need and want to smell, feel and touch but they are hungry for a “new way” to buy.
- Who dares to be different?
- Who among us is hard at work breaking the (perception) of the auto sales business model?
Allow me to offer up some examples to start this off:
1. Auction Direct USA
Three stores; NY, GA, FL and growing like a weed. Institutionally funded with over 400 vehicles for sale
- Auction Direct USA Game Changer Claim to Fame?
- On Site Auctions with open reserve prices. Unsold units at $399 over reserve.
- No negotiation.
- In store Web shopping stations to shop competition (great closing tool IMO).
- Non commission sales (flats?).
- Killer pre-qualifying process (the finest bar none)
- Open feeling sales floor, No desking, No offices.
- 3 day, 300 mile exchange
- RSS Inventory feeds
Lots of hype "only $400 over reserve", but it successfully hits several favorite "hates" of shoppers (one price-no negotiating, open, no rooms, shopping stations, etc). I haven’t been there but I bet that they don’t let a soul into the inventory lot to browse without coming through the showroom 1st. If you look at the career opportunities area, they really key on the BDC team.
2. City Auto
Located in Memphis, Tennessee with over a 1,000 vehicles for sale
- City Auto’s Game Changer Claim to Fame?
- Results 1st: Auto Dealer Monthly’s 2007 Independent Retailer of the Year and #1 in U.S. Internet Sales for 2007!
- City Auto is a mall made of an Army of self employed sales reps
The salesmen actually own their own vehicles. That is why the contact information is different for each vehicle listed on cityauto.com
It’s a strange setup, looks just like a shopping mall. Small players rent space from the house. From the consumers side, I see how exciting it would be to buy from the owner. No "go ask the boss" routine. I’d bet the phone pitches from the owners are personal and excellent. Also, the boss/sales rep gives the shopper the trade-in. I just don’t know how they can keep each other from cannibalizing themselves. Or… maybe that’s why they sell so many! (great party story, pitting 2 owners against themselves, all the while, mr. shopper sits tight). IMO, if the “House” can keep the peace and keep its customer service reputation clean, I’d call City Auto model a GENUINE game changer.
Give it a look, post your Game Changers.
Article written by Joe Pistell
CEO of new-traffic.com