The pandemic is changing how we move, literally. The demand for used cars is high and car dealers too are conducting business line. No wonder, CARS24, a tech-enabled used car platform, is aggressively adopting modern technology to make the car buying and selling experience hassle-free. During the lockdown period itself, the tech teams at CARS24 started preparing for the post-pandemic world; for instance, they massively scaled up the Home Inspection infrastructure by making desired changes in product and tech back-end to make the experience fast and efficient.
On the buyer front, which earlier used to have a hybrid model of online discovery and offline transaction and financing, the pandemic accelerated the movement to a completely online buying journey from discovery to financing and transaction to ‘sub 48 hour’ home delivery of the car – everything happening online and in near real-time. As a result, CARS24 now does 20,000 monthly transactions from the previous 5,000 monthly transactions in mid-2018 while also pushing up the unit economics and margins.
Another major tech innovation that has been introduced is the ‘Sell Online’ concept. Herein, CARS24 gives a binding offer to the seller on the website basis a few questions to establish car details and existing condition. Thereafter, there is a contactless selling experience; the evaluation engineer simply comes to pick the car and documents and to validate the accuracy of those 15 parameters, following which instant payment is made to the seller’s account.
“We aren’t just an aggregator or classified platform to buy or sell cars. In fact, we pretty much own the transaction to the last step of RC transfer,” says Naresh Mehta, vice-president, Data Science and Machine Learning, CARS24.
“Almost all the products at CARS24 are made in-house from our 200 points proprietary inspection app, auction app, consumer-facing seller and buyer apps, etc., to internal products.” Research conducted by CARS24 sometime back said that a fair number of people prefer contactless car purchases over conventional car buying.
Furthermore, CARS24 is gradually leveraging IoT for a few specific use cases. More recently, it launched a first-of-its-kind voice-based car evaluation initiative in partnership with Google Assistant, enabling their customers to sell cars online using the convenience of voice. Using this functionality, customers can arrive at a valuation for their cars using CARS24’s algorithm-based tool—enabling them to sell their cars easily and quickly.
CARS24 also started an in-house refurbishment and photo studio which required developing strong inventory management, cataloging, and quality control products. “We have completely overhauled the catalogue to a highly detailed 360 view of cars which is essential to further enable fully online purchasing behaviour,” says Mehta.
In short, CARS24 owes its success to its continued investment in technology and data sciences.
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