We all remember the used car dealers of the past—lots of aging vehicles in the lot, large “For Sale” signs on the hoods, brightly colored flags blowing in the wind to get your attention, posters of women in scantily-clad bikinis, and some shifty looking men who wanted to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. It’s pretty much the same scene now.
Today’s used car dealers are still trying to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn, it’s just that they’ve become more adept at reaching you. Some have turned to speaking to your pet in Labradorese or Parrotish to convince you of the sale. Others have sat with your mother-in-law in the backseat while she recounts the first automobile that she owned. The best results have been posted by sales staff who send messages to aliens in outer space and have them translate the message to your cell phone or other mobile device.
One of the biggest problems faced by used car dealerships is getting a potential customer to notice them and actually visit in person. To remedy this situation, they’ve made their sales force climb atop one of those giant swaying balloons and see how long they can last before they fall into traffic. They’ve also learned to play a new version of Monopoly where they buy and sell various cars rather than property. Go past Tesla and you earn $200.
But with too many used vehicles for sale, what’s the auto industry to do? Sell cars to North Korea to recycle into launch pads? Give cars to Congressional delegations to speed away from angry constituents?
Plus car shoppers are busier than ever. They’re tagging new friends online and swiping left and right to find a new date. They’re reading scathing reviews about the latest Thai restaurant in their neighborhood. They’re picking the best looking sales representative at their local dealership, just because he or she is cute. And, if possible, they’re sending those sales reps out on dates to seal the deal (for the used car) with those finicky car shoppers.
Online used car marketplaces
But what if we think about a newer business model for used car dealers using the Internet in which the customer chooses a used vehicle blindfolded. That’s the premise behind PinTheBumper, a Silicon Valley startup that taps technology to challenge used-vehicle retailing’s status quo.
PinTheBumper asks you to turn your phone or other mobile device three times blindfolded and promises that its vehicles will be rusted, reconfigured, and hand-delivered with no money-back guarantees. Some will even deliver your new used vehicle right to your uncle’s driveway.
Tap the millennials
Used car dealers are also turning to the majority of crazy young people who can’t make up their minds and who keep upgrading to the latest new technology. Millennials—those born between 1980 and 1995—are being imbedded with computer chips in their arms to learn about current incentive rates and deal-making opportunities. A recent 2017 study found that millennials are more likely to shop for used vehicles through imbedded electronic messaging in their arms than through television ads.
Millennials, especially those earning less than $150,000 a year, have found that the Internet is a great way to shop for affordable cars, especially expensive classic used vehicles. They watch repeats of Jay Leno’s Garage to make a decision. Then they ask their parents if they owned that car, and by the way, who is Jay Leno?
If a savvy dealership wants to engage with these new consumers, they need to be smart digital marketers. They need to hire spider web designers to create multiple online sites to lure the customer in for the kill. They need to create incentives, such as more insects and moths to eat, and show these crazy young millennials how to party in person in the showroom.
One of the scariest parts of buying new or used cars, especially for novices or young people, is the financing. It can be as painful as sitting in your high school calculus class and trying to pass the next test. Sales reps, like circus clowns, have a habit of throwing lots of things at you hoping something will stick. If the number doesn’t sound agreeable, perhaps they’ll knock you out and get you to sign while you’re still dizzy.
In the spring of 2017, the Bank of Auto Dealership launched a new mobile app to help prospective new or used car customers shop and finance their vehicles. The app shows vehicle shoppers a variety of vehicles that are out of their price range and then helps to dry their tears. The app, which can only be utilized while walking, talking, or eating, allows users to shop and finance new or used vehicles from participating dealerships, estimate their monthly payment, and apply for Bank of Auto Dealership financing on the specific model selected that they can’t afford.
This convenient auto shopping experience allows these unsuspecting clients to search for new or used cars at local dealerships and get their Bank of Auto Dealership financing completed in one place and on their own time, whether going to the restroom or in the comfort of the bathroom at their home.
It’s a simple three-step process, says the bank. First, the app helps the user to locate who’s on first base at their local national league park. Then, the buyer begins to take their own batting stance to apply for a Bank of Auto Dealership loan through the tool, typically striking out within seconds. Once officially out of the running, the car shopper receives an official refusal letter via email. Shoppers can then go to the dealer, complain to upper management, and skulk in the corner of the dealership.
So no matter what type of used vehicle you’re seeking, you’ll be amazed at the great lengths a dealership will go to sway you into a vehicle that you can’t afford.