Roadster launched a new solution on Tuesday that, among other perks, will allow car-shoppers to start the trade-in process on their smartphones before they arrive at the dealership.
Through Express Trade, dealers can also have more control over the pricing on trade-ins, the company said.
In a phone interview last week, Roadster chief executive officer Andy Moss and chief marketing officer Michelle Denogean provided a walk-through of how Express Trade works.
When the shopper starts the process with Express Trade, he or she is prompted to switch to the smartphone format, as this tends to be easier for taking photos, scanning barcodes and so forth.
First, the shopper is asked to type in the car’s VIN or take a photo of the VIN, Moss explained. Next, he or she punches in the vehicle’s mileage, and is then prompted to take up to seven photos of the vehicle from specific angles.
The customer is asked to share any damage spots on the vehicle. Interestingly enough, it’s the “rare customer” who is not honest, Moss said. In fact, they tend to “edge toward over-disclosure.”
Next up, the shopper provides details on trim, engine, transmission and so on. Based on the specific vehicle, many of these details are automatically checked to save time, as well.
The customer is also asked specific questions about the vehicle’s condition — for instance, is the check-engine light on? Has anyone smoked in the car? Have there been any repairs over $500?
Express Trade asks about ownership, as well. If it is leased, the customer is asked how many months are left and the lease buyout amount.
The customer can also share any additional information about the vehicle.
From the dealership’s viewpoint, the salesperson is able to follow up with the consumer with an offer and comments through one-to-one communication where neither party has the other’s phone number, Moss said.
If the shopper accepts the offer, he or she has three choices:
— Deduct the amount on the trade from the purchase price of the car he or she wants to buy
— Apply a portion of that trade-in to the purchase
— Receive a check
Express Trade enables this process to be conducted 100-percent online, Moss said. In reality, he points out, there will be some that choose to take care of some of the tasks in store.
Point is, the consumer has the option to go full online if he or she so chooses.
Shoppers also have the choice as to when they utilize Express Trade; some may want to get it done right off the bat, others may want to settle on a purchase choice before lining up the trade. As Denogean points out, convenience may mean different things to different people.
Three dealers had been beta-testing the product, which is now available.