"A majority of people are online, and they're looking around, and they want to get all the information they can online before they decide where they want to go," said David Maus Jr., vice president of the four-store Maus Family Automotive in Florida. "So the more information you give your consumer, the higher on a consideration chart you are."
The dealership group, started by Maus' father, has always erred on the side of providing as much information on vehicles to customers as possible, so the new era is not a difficult one for the retailer, Maus said.
But Maus Family Automotive decided to opt for a digital boost, adding SureSale, a company started by longtime auto industry entrepreneurs Jeffrey Schwartz and Donny Hall, to its roster of vendors to provide detailed information on vehicles' past and present conditions.
SureSale promises 170-point inspections, road test results and history checks for all vehicles. It produces a vehicle report dubbed the Factfile, which follows the vehicle online, similar to a CarFax or AutoCheck report.
"With digital retailing and the ability to be able to at least start the transaction online, if not complete it, having a condition report and having a quality celebration of a particular vehicle is that much more important to consumers," said Sean Peoples, SureSale's vice president of sales.
It's important to dealers, too, Peoples said, "as they look to a pretty competitive landscape [in which companies] like Carvana have really changed the playing field."