Saturday, November 7

cracking the used cars market: The online space

The near virgin e-comm whitespace of used vehicles

There have been many attempts to take the offline auto park/sale model online. With attempts like "certified" or "verified seller" not gaining traction, used car market remains among the few markets where online have made a didn't dent the existing players.

Every player have seen varied level of success, some shut down long forgotten, some pivot, while others still selling hard with investor backing.

An Online/Offline parallel presence like (love their branding) or Mahindra first-choice is promising. kind of a symbiotic deal, branding and credibility of online players matched to larger online offering + space for physical view, it seem to be working but not exactly an answer to real offline park and sale.

While there appears no success formula, I do come across new and new e-com ventures around used cars. Certainly is fast and responsive on the UI front, savvy, etc, but, I don't see any distinct mantra as far as the process is concerned.
The only pitch for funds seems to be if real estate can work online, why not used cars?
Both seller and buyer remain in spread out, that a fulfillments center model wont work out. You wont travel 100km to just check a product nor would the seller. Either some means of point to point pickup and delivery should evolve or some major investment aiming to consolidate the wide spread chain should emerge which can somehow replicate the fulfillments center model and hence remain viable.

Yet, the question of checking out the product remains. While new cars could be sold, each and every used car is unique and unless someone with serious reputation and money comes into business, it wont take off.
It needs to be hyperlocal

I recently came across a used car market called offering a plethora of services.

Coined from Dream + Vroom, what makes me write about them is what they associate with them as their belief. The timing, economic landscape, technology, everything infact have come together to create that sweet-spot that earlier players missed. Droom has a chance if they do the right as the critical mass and support elements could be ready soon.

Currently, it seems like an attempt to answer all issues in one shot.
Such a huge webpage

But with some time spend, it feel like it could address at-least a few of the issues. They certainly will need a good customer service team with the kinda options, but Droom does have a chance. If they can answer the hyperlocal element of this market, everything will fall in place. Drag in some preferred partnerships with automakers and can address the credibility question. Wish them best of luck!

Meanwhile, OLX and Quikr seem to be the only working solution for hunting used cars.