As the savvy amongst you will know, last year Amazon launched ‘Amazon Vehicles’ in the US. The site- within Amazon.com – allows you to research thousands of cars, their specifications- and as we’re used to seeing with Amazon- customer reviews. It also has a suggested pricing for the vehicle.
Amazon Vehicles was designed to help customers research cars and compare them- before they make the big step of buying a car. At the time Amazon’s automotive head Adam Goetsch said the company wanted to “support customers during one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in their lives and Amazon hoped the site will create a new “automotive community”. The initial signs look promising.
Whilst AV doesn’t allow you to order a car- just yet- it has been teaming up with car manufacturers such as Hyundai to let customers book test drives. Initially rolled out as a pilot at the end of last year- it shows the desire by customers to do everything all in one place- research, read reviews, compare and book a test drive of the vehicle they’d like to. Amazon also has the obvious benefit to show you products for the car too- from replacement parts to car seats- all in one place.
It’s another clever move by Amazon- often the go to site for buying products with ease- by providing a place for advice and community- it’s creating an environment that means users create a habit of going to Amazon first- potentially ahead of a search engine such as Google or it may just mean more customers go to Amazon automotive, for tools, car parts etc.
So, where’s Amazon Vehicles heading? It’s very likely it’ll become a platform to not only research your vehicle but also buy and potentially sell on too- which could cause a bit of a shake up for the likes of AutoTrader and eBay.
While consumer demand for buying cars online is uncertain, it’s possible that Amazon will be able to undercut prices offered by dealerships due to the way that it runs its business ie. low overheads, which could mean that consumers are able to spend less on a new car- which could be a very attractive prospect for car buyers.
Another benefit of Amazon selling cars is that dealerships will be forced to provide a more personalised experience to their customers to demonstrate what they can offer that Amazon can’t.
However, this could result in dealerships being forced to charge for things that they were otherwise giving away for free to compete on price- similar to the way that some budget airlines operate.
It’s highly likely that Amazon is looking at launching Amazon Vehicles in the UK at the start of 2018 with rumours that Amazon are putting a team of industry experts together ahead of it’s launch.
What this will mean for traditional dealerships is uncertain- but what’s clear is that the companies that succeed will be the ones that make the buying process as seamless and customer-centric as possible.
-Tom White, Senior Account Director