One of the biggest monsters of the internet just entered the automotive space and no one knows what to expect.

Amazon Vehicles.

Is this considered a TrueCar or AutoTrader competitor?

Will this become a platform for replacing the entire dealership experience with an online experience?

How will this prove to be more successful than Amazon Automotive?

Some of these questions are open-ended, and we really won’t know the answers until Amazon Vehicles unleashes its power and creates the community it’s hoping for.

In the meantime, let’s set this straight.  Amazon Vehicles is a research website for consumers to find images, reviews, and specifications on car models. It is also supposed to support Amazon Automotive– Amazon’s initial hub for automotive parts.

You cannot buy a vehicle directly from Amazon.  Yet.

Features include overall research tools, comments section, and Amazon Garage- the ability to upload information about your current car to find the right parts and replacements through Amazon’s platform.  The hope is for Amazon Vehicles to become to biggest forum for car buyers– to become the solution for a hard, long purchasing process.  Amazon would like to become the one-stop shop for feedback.  As Amazon head, Adam Goetsch, says, “Our goal is to support customers during one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in their lives by helping them make informed decisions every step of the way.”

People have already been rating Amazon’s research tool as painless and easy-to-use, which challenges other big players in the industry.

Amazon has also already launched a pilot partnering with Hyundai called Prime Now. Drive Now. so that consumers can order test drives directly to their homes from Amazon research pages.  If this is successful, it can remove the need to go to the dealership and allow consumers to schedule test drives ahead of time and online.

What does this all mean to your dealership?  There is a need and a desire to translate as much as possible to the digital world.  While the automotive business is a face-to-face practice, you may have to adjust some things moving forward. Don’t let initiatives like Amazon Vehicles take you down.  Embrace it.  Learn from it.  Implement change.

  1. Incentives for test drives: If you’re competing with 3rd party sites to get test drives for potential customers, implement an incentive program for test drives.  You can check out an example here.
  2. Great customer service: Change the stigma around buying a car at a dealership.  Deliver excellent customer service and make your clients want to come back and spread the word, before the internet competes with your service.
  3. Offer in-store discounts: Use your website to promote offers and specials that are only valid in-store . Make sure you make the offers irresistible.
  4. Create loyalty programs: Create loyalty or reward programs for your customers to contribute to Amazon’s forum and throw in a good word for you.  This could be a game changer for your dealership.

As Amazon kicks deeper into the automotive industry, we should have more insight into how this will impact big players in the industry and local dealerships.  In the meantime, we’re really interested in your feedback.  Let us know what you think about Amazon Vehicles. 216-242-1320 or tweet at @autoleadstar.