Digital Success Leads to Franchising SchemeSat, 09/01/2018 - 09:35
Although car buyers still enjoy visiting showrooms and interacting with vehicles before making the final purchase, the Internet and digital platforms present new distribution channels that users can explore. This, however, is still a greenfield opportunity explored only by a few, according to Nazareth Black, CEO and Founder of Car Fast.
“Car buyers are usually unaware of what vehicle best fits their needs and are often charged different prices for the same unit, depending on the rebates offered or the kind of financing plan they select,” says Black. Noticing this area of opportunity, Black decided to create a digital platform where people could get advice on vehicles and financing options. In 2007, Car Fast became the first digital dealership in Mexico to offer integrated vehicle solutions over the Internet. The company was created as an option to more effectively cater to clients’ needs. “We bring together the whole automotive industry in a single platform and have vehicle and financing experts who offer buyers advice on what car to purchase,” she says.
The company decided to be a digital sales channel from the beginning to fill the gaps in traditional sales processes in physical dealerships. “Car Fast focuses on the niche of people that have had negative customer experiences at dealerships and those who need fast, specialized attention and cannot lose time with a showroom tour,” says Black. As digitalization permeates the Mexican automotive market, interest on digital sales channels has grown and more companies are paying attention to digital vehicles sales. “The fact that Car Fast recently closed a US$500,000 deal with a client without ever meeting a salesperson or seeing the car beforehand says a lot about how ready the market is for these solutions,” she adds.
Digital sales channels might seem threatening to dealership groups, but Black says it will take a while before digitalization takes over the automotive market. “Car Fast does not take away sales from dealerships,” she says. The company brings the client closer to the distributor and helps these players by providing solutions to manage all their dealerships through a single digital platform. This is a win-win situation not only for Car Fast and consumers but for all players involved in the sale of a vehicle, including brands, distributors and financing institutions. “Brands share part of their profits with Car Fast for being included in the company’s digital platform and in exchange, Car Fast orders units, pays for them and ask for invoices,” explains Black.
In terms of financing, Car Fast works with all banks to offer clients financing options to purchase vehicles online. The company decided to bring in vehicle and financing experts who assess clients and offer them advice on what vehicle and financing option is best for them. “We designed a system that evaluates clients individually to find the alternative that suits their needs best,” says Black. “We offer an ethical and warm interaction that translates into a great digital-based customer experience, which makes purchasing a car easy, fast, comfortable and at the same price offered in any showroom.”
Car Fast has even developed leasing options for SMEs that are not interested in owning vehicles. “SMEs are important to us because they can benefit the most from our services,” says Black. Just as with private customers, Car Fast creates services around the needs of its SME clients. “Clients tell us their growth plans and we prepare a suitable financing plan for them to acquire their vehicles,” says Black. “We can effectively reduce the response time for auto credit from between one and one and a half months to just four days.”
As Car Fast solidifies its presence in the Mexican automotive market, the company now plans to start selling franchises of its digital platform. So far, the company has had annual sales of 4,000 vehicles and it strives to reach the 5,000-unit mark through its first franchise launched in June 2018 in Mexico City. Once Black ensures franchises can deliver the quality of service it offers in-house, the company will continue growing this business model. Black also plans to start operations in Brazil through both its platform and car rental unit by 4Q18. Chile and Colombia could be its next destinations after that. “We want to start expanding in Latin America to show that the region is capable of exporting trends rather than only following them,” says Black.