2021 ALL STAR | DIGITAL RETAIL
A couple of years ago, CarMax CEO Bill Nash told investors an anecdote about a woman who had a newborn and was in the market for a car in the Atlanta area. But the customer didn’t want to have to drive around town with a baby in tow.
It was a perfect example, Nash said, of someone who needed to shop on their own terms — someone who needed omnichannel retail.
Nash, 52, made the comments as the company was in the early stages of what would become the largest transformation in CarMax’s nearly 30 years of existence. Omnichannel retail has become a common term used by Nash and CarMax, and the largest used-vehicle retailer has arguably been at the cutting edge of this modern form of shopping.
Omnichannel retail refers to allowing customers to shop whenever, however and wherever they please, and to be able to do so in a seamless and personalized way. When shopping for vehicles, omnichannel retail allows someone to shop in-store or on a computer or mobile device, go back and forth between the two, and never lose their place in their journey.
CarMax began rolling out its omnichannel retail offering toward the end of 2018 and completed the rollout last year. The undertaking included revamping the company’s customer service, decentralizing it across “customer experience centers” to offer immediate help to digital shoppers. It also involved technology upgrades needed to underpin the digital shopping experience itself.
Nash, who began at CarMax in 1997 as an auction manager after roles at Circuit City, was named CEO in 2016.