Well almost. I gave my credit card details but stopped short of applying for finance and hitting the final order button.
I wanted to see how revolutionary Cazoo is and I am pleased to say it is not doing anything any car dealer can’t do already with a bit of tweaking.
Their website is easy and nice to use. I am surprised it does not cater more for what I call “none-car people”. If you know what you are looking for it works well. If you are unsure of what you want, then it is tricky to know which car would suit you best and if the price is OK. A typical problem is that everyone thinks choice is a good thing, but I think it can confuse. With 1,800 cars in stock there certainly is choice.
I decide to pick a Fiesta 1.0 Zetec 5dr 67 plate with 9,000 miles on it. It is priced at £10,650. Checking with Autotrader it is priced at 100% recommended retail price so gets a green flag from them on price. I also note Cazoo are on Autotrader.
Now for the part exchange. There is about £500 worth of body damage on the vehicle I want to part-exchange. What is interesting is that the part exchange promise explains that they will not change the price from the offered price. The website does not ask for damage or for me to indicate condition. I like they have kept it simple, but I wonder how sustainable this tactic is for profitability. Profitability might not be a concern for an £80m backed start-up.
Next step is to pick my delivery date. Looking today I can book 2-hour slots in the afternoon this Friday or Sunday. Not quite the 72 hours they claim.
I am then asked to select if I wish to pay monthly or the balance by card. The card is interesting as there could be big card charges for some of these transactions. I decide to try finance. £500 deposit and a 10,000 miles per year PCP gets be a finance rate of 8.9% APR and a monthly payment of £194. Reading the details, it looks like it will be using e-sign to verify and complete the finance. It explains the interest rate might vary depending on an individual. I decide not to carry on with the finance application and instead revert to pay by card. I easily fill my details in and get as far as the final submit button. Nice and easy.
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing ground-breaking and nothing that dealers can’t do or are not already doing. I discuss each step.
More and more dealerships have e-commerce platforms that work in a similar way to Cazoo. Cazoo is the best one I have used but others are not far behind and do a similar job.
An interesting one. Cazoo’s policy to not ask for condition or damage has potential to cause issues going forward. With margins being squeezed a part exchange standing in wrong can make or break the deal. Auction values are strong now so they might get away with it providing nothing changes. Whilst it is easy for the customer, I think most understand condition does affect the value. An extra step to ask them about condition or damage, I suspect, would be acceptable to most.
Because I live and breathe vehicle preparation with vAutoStock I know the 72-hour delivery will be a challenge for a lot of dealerships. I am not surprised when I find some stock at dealers is only being mechanically prepared once an order has been taken. Unless you have vAutoStock, or your own internal version of it, it is tricky to understand online which vehicles are 100% prepared and ready to go. I note on most e-commerce platforms they allow 5 days delivery instead of 72 hours. Maybe this is OK but when I was in the chair, I wanted the car gone as quickly as it could, ideally the same day.
There are plenty of suppliers that will now provide finance to an e-commerce customer. The disappointing thing is that it breaks the flow a bit. Customers must look out for documentation via emails and it is not as easy as it could be. Cazoo delivery times might start falling away due to waiting on customers to do what they need to do for finance. Cazoo use Evolution Finance’s e-commerce platform which is available to most dealers.
Currently quite a faff. Most customers are asked to pay a balance by bank transfer. Sales Consultants need to speak with their accounts team to have then pick through the many transactions to see if it has been paid. It looks like Cazoo have priced card fees into their model. My suggestion is as a dealer you need to consider doing the same for your e-commerce customers. The issue I cannot work out is how Cazoo mitigate the distance selling rules. Perhaps they have calculated the risk on this and are happy with it.
Nowadays if a customer is not that happy with their car within 7 days you probably end up exchanging. Therefore, why not offer it as a feature. Providing the customer has not exceeded 250 miles in the car Cazoo offer a no quibble exchange. Any mileage after that is charged at £1 per mile which is fair.
The good news is Cazoo is not revolutionary. They will spend a lot of money advertising the fact that they are, and customers can now buy online. It is an excellent opportunity to let customers know you already do it. You might need to make a few changes to your website and vehicle preparation process, but these are all easy tweaks.