Cars.com is among some of the older car marketplaces that took a hit when the new shiny Carvanas of the world came along.
And when the pandemic hit and everyone went online, Carvana was one company that really soared. Everything else was shuttered and locked down and buyers took to online buying as the order of the day. But once things opened up, things have to be different.
Some things haven’t changed - buying a car is still a deeply personal and a huge, momentous event in a person’s life. But there is a huge – one can even say a generational sea change when it comes to the actual business of buying cars. Namely, the ‘how’! How cars are bought!
The automobile industry is one that hasn’t quite kept up with the other industries in terms of how they sold their products. The dealership model with cars on the lot is still how they do things most of the time!
Yes – many people still go to a car dealer, take a test drive, talk to the car salesperson and then buy it off the lot. But there are many others, especially the younger lot that would go online, do their research there and then buy – the actual buying also could be online! And there are those who would go hybrid - do a lot of research online and then buy the car at a physical store.
Car sellers like Car.com are waking up to this now and see the importance of creating extremely engaging customer experiences for their audiences. They need to make the journey that customers take, navigating both off and online spaces, seamless and frictionless.
Car.com already has the most amazing name for its website! No wonder it gets a very high number of organic traffic. They need to capitalize on that and build on it – they need to simplify the paperwork involved and also the whole buying process. The future is definitely a transparent customer-friendly process. And car.com is headed in the right direction – their new logo has wings that denote transparency!
Their campaign line “where to next?” must apply to them as well. They need to modernize the way they operate, take a good hard look at their business models and change things before it all becomes obsolete.
They must find ways to engage with customers right through their customer journey so they can move them through the funnel and convert them into a happy customer.
So while the new website with all the new added functionalities is great, they must keep asking themselves, “where to next?” and keep pace with the very ‘online’ expectations of the likes of Millennials and Gen Z. So now that Car.com has gotten its engine running, it’s time to step on the gas and surge ahead!