December 19, 2022

Digital Retail is Great, but the Last Mile is Broken

The rumors indicate that Carvana’s bankruptcy is not an “if” but a “when”. The banter about what will happen with all of those transparent vending machine towers in major metros ranges from multilevel bars to giant aviary structures.

Dealers are celebrating that the traditional processes are working, while the newer models like Carvana and Vroom are faltering. The tides have turned, and the traditional car dealership as we know it returns to its familiar problems.

For traditional automotive retailers, the story of Carvana was compelling. The cast of characters with not so shiny pasts, and humorous social media posts about stock prices in free fall. However, the joke is on us if we forget that the modern car buyer bought it. It was not a few cars that were purchased, it was thousands that chose to purchase a vehicle online rather than visiting a traditional dealership.

That is not a laughing matter. 

It felt like a daily occurrence that a new digital retail tool claimed to be the answer to the threat of Carvana, Vroom, and other online marketplaces for used cars.

Companies that had their identity roots in chat utilities were now selling cars online, and players from outside of automotive came into the fold offering user-friendly tech that would modernize the way to buy a vehicle from your dealership.

Are there success stories in this? Without a doubt.

Many efficiencies were introduced and the dealerships with leadership and discipline made changes in their process to adapt to the new times.

But here is the truth—The last mile is still broken.
The Last Mile is Where it Really Matters; the Last Mile is the Transaction.

The Desking, Lending, & Financing process in a traditional car dealership is the biggest pain point for a modern buyer, which is where the best Digital Retail tools have let us down. They have expedited the front end of the process but created a bottle neck at the last mile of the sale, both for the client and the employee.

The last mile was broken and exposed when COVID struck and it continues to be broken as we welcome guests back to be exposed to another virus—a disconnected last mile of an automotive journey.

The problem is that the technology in the last mile is disconnected.  Steps in the process are conducted on different software tools, they can be clumsy, and many of them are not intended to be customer-facing.

It leads to time waste, duplicate entry, looming FTC compliance issues, and most importantly a customer that is still very vulnerable to want to go any other direction than have to suffer through this inefficient process that lacks transparency.

While digital retail brought us better tech, it did not fix the last mile.

To be effective, dealerships need one experience that is designed to support their process, from start to finish, whatever that might be. One platform. Not something made for the consumer to do by themselves, but one that is robust for your employees to streamline the experience all the way through desking, F&I and compliance—the last mile that matters when completing the transaction before sending the customer off in their brand new vehicle.

About A2Z

From online to instore, dealers deliver a superior customer experience with A2Z.  Digital Retail, Desking, Lending and Menu all in one tool powered by a single platform. A2Z provides dealers with the technology and training to implement their predictable, measurable and efficient sales process.