Founded in 2013, Carvana is known for its car vending machines and claims to make buying a car as simple as ordering something on Amazon. They’ve had a pretty good year thus far with customers flocking to contactless options across industries. While the Carvana model of an online dealership will likely always exist, there is still a gap for customers more interested in the ongoing service and maintenance relationships with dealerships.

Online Car Sales

If you don’t already have an excellent online car buying option on your website, now is the time to add it or upgrade. This is the single most important decision a dealer can make when looking to compete with online dealerships. Most buyers will start searching on your website even if they plan to visit the dealership to test drive and see in person. 

Test Driving

One of the major shortcomings in Carvana’s model is its test-driving option (or lack thereof). In order to test-drive, you must go through all the steps to lease or buy a vehicle and you then have seven days to ‘test drive’ with an easy return process. The only problem? You have to go through the entire process of contracts before even setting foot in the vehicle. As a dealership, you should be looking for ways to expand and highlight your test-driving policies and empowering buyers to be able to truly shop before purchasing a vehicle. 

Contactless Sales and Service

Waze, the navigation app, recently rolled out a contactless fuel payment option for ExxonMobil and Shell to minimize customer contact at a gas station during the pandemic. Since being ‘self-assisted’ is one of Carvana’s main selling points, this concept is something dealerships could benefit from implementing now and after the pandemic in both your sales and service processes. 

Service and Relationships

Carvana may be convenient for car shopping and pickup, but their follow-up, service offerings, and customer service seem to be majorly lacking. The Carvana Reddit thread is littered with negative reviews of customers feeling cheated after the purchase due to poor customer service and issue resolution after purchasing. The promise of convenience seems to be met with the harsh reality of no real person to help you and no promise of care going forward. Making customer relationships and service the heart of your operation is the best way to beat out the digital sales competition. 

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