Vehicle listings sites continue to evolve beyond their origins as third-party lead generators for dealerships.
The latest example: CarGurus, which this month expanded a pilot program, CarGurus Convert, into a retail platform called Digital Deal. With the platform, the company said, dealerships will be able to integrate financing and credit applications, have buyers choose finance-and-insurance products, offer appointment and delivery scheduling and allow for shopper deposits to reserve a vehicle through CarGurus' site.
Throughout the pandemic, I've written about listings sites' evolution toward allowing consumers to transact on a vehicle purchase online. TrueCar, for instance, rolled out its TrueCar+ online sales platform this year following a pilot. It enables consumers to choose a vehicle, set up financing, add protection products, arrange delivery and complete a transaction all primarily within TrueCar's platform.
TrueCar started in Florida and plans to expand into more markets this year.
CarGurus says its platform is available nationwide.
"With this launch, we're closer to creating a full end-to-end digital retail solution and providing a unique offering to serve our consumers and dealers who wish to have a digital-to-in-store experience," CarGurus CEO Jason Trevisan said on the company's first-quarter earnings call this month.
Trevisan added that the new product "is designed to help dealers compete with online retailers."
It also will allow CarGurus to compete for dealership clientele alongside rival vehicle marketplace companies that have similar retail offerings, particularly at a time of low vehicle inventory when dealerships have pulled back on marketing spending. Having other products to offer when demand for inventory listings is lower can help diversify their businesses and attract and keep dealership customers.
And the pandemic has demonstrated that transacting online is going to be a critical capability going forward.