Yes you heard right, there is a vending machine that sells cars. Not toy cars, but real life size cars that you drive on the road. It’s a brand new concept from Used Car Retailer Carvana. With its first location in Nashville, Carvana is quickly getting noticed in both the vending and dealership worlds. In essence, Carvana took an Automated Parking Garage structure then added a vending machine like mechanism, where the customer inserts an oversized coin, the gears start turning and the car of choice comes out.
At first, this simply seems like another gimmick until you realize that Carvana has cut out the traditional brick and mortar dealership altogether. Eliminating the dealership and the overhead that comes with it they claim to be able to save on average $1,681 versus Kelly Blue Book prices. If you’ve ever sat in a dealership you can hear people threatening to walk out over $500 dollars, thinks $1681 will get their attention?
Another key part of Carvana’s success is the fact that the structure doubles as an advertising billboard. In a world where all anyone talks about is when the new phone is coming out, it’s hard to pass by a five-story steel and glass structure without stopping to take a peek. It’s new, techy and cool and it just might be a game changer in the Auto Industry. If this concept takes off you can already imagine touch screens in front of this structure where the customer chooses their preferences and the car they want to see. This is similar to your local supermarket where you see a self checkout kiosk replacing the traditional attendant scanning your items.
Now, what do people usually think of when going to a car dealership especially a used one…a car Salesman! Whether a car salesman’s reputation is deserved or not, the stereotype is so engrained in our society that people want to avoid one until the very end. What if there was a way to cut out that interaction at least by half if not all together at some point…wouldn’t that change the car buying experience? At the end of the day, if worked out properly, it just might make a lot of sense. The dealer saves money on employees and other overheard of running a full sized dealership and the customer saves money and possibly has a more positive experience in the process.
What’s important here is that the die is cast. Only time will tell as to how many dealerships will see Carvana’s vending machine, but you can be sure that car dealers all over the country are paying very close attention. As with anything improvements to the process and this car vending machine itself will be made and more break troughs lay ahead. More importantly is that this is part of a growing movement of automation. Replacing the middle man just like the self service kiosks at your bank instead of tellers, kiosks at the supermarket and Uber drivers cutting out the Taxi company making way for a more efficient interaction between product and consumer.