CarMax's long-stated goal with its omnichannel retail platform has been to allow customers to shop either online or in a store, or both.
Most have chosen both.
"We found that most customers don't want to shop for a car in a way that is tied solely to an in-store or digital experience," CEO Bill Nash said last week as the company reported second-quarter results.
Omnichannel retail refers to a seamless and personalized shopping experience, in which customers can dip in and out of a shopping journey, in both the digital and physical realms, while being able to pick back up wherever they left off.
CarMax customers can buy a car either 100 percent in-store or 100 percent online, but the omnichannel platform ties together the two spaces for the typical shopper, who does a combination of both.
In its fiscal second quarter, CarMax's online retail sales accounted for 9 percent of all retail unit sales, up from just 3 percent in the year-ago period. CarMax defines online retail sales as when the customer completes all four aspects of a transaction remotely: reserving the vehicle, financing the purchase, trading in a vehicle or opting out of a trade-in, and creating a remote sales order.
A little more than half of CarMax's retail unit sales in the period were what CarMax calls "omni sales." That refers to when customers complete at least one of the four major aspects of the transaction remotely.
For the customers who want to do a transaction totally online, CarMax is in the process of rolling out a self-service option that allows shoppers to complete an end-to-end transaction without ever having to work with a sales associate.
Currently, a little more than half of all CarMax customers have access to such a capability, and Nash said it should be available to all retail customers by the end of its fiscal year.
"All customers currently can buy a car online with assistance from an associate," Nash said.
But does everyone want to do it that way? Obviously not.