CarMax – Bright Side to Buying… Extensive Research Discussed

If you own or mange a car dealership, or even multiple car dealerships, chances are you cannot compete with the amount of research dollars being spent by an organization like CarMax.

The following statement was crafted after reading details from a publicly available CarMax document entitled CarMax Strategy Teams.

“CarMax was founded upon the desire to give consumers a different kind of used car shopping experience, one that is easy and offers peace of mind instead of headaches and anxiety. Their Consumer Insights team helps guide strategies that continue to build a “world-class” customer experience at their stores and encourage  customers to do business with and become loyal advocates of CarMax. They do this by conducting customer research and analysis and continuously monitoring and communicating customer perceptions surrounding the CarMax experience.”

So.. it doesn’t take a genius to realize latest trends in consumer vehicle shopping for pre-owned vehicles is easy to find…  simply look at the latest 3 television commercials being shown by CarMax.   All three are presented as the “Bright Side to Buying” theme and they are:

  1. The first commercial has no given additional statement or theme.. It states “The Bright Side of Car Buying” only.  This commercial implies that they are easy to do business with.. no gimmicks… and when you interact with them it will be with an employee that is consumer friendly who will treat you like a real person.
  2. The Bright Side of Car Buying “Time Saving”.  This commercial implies that the car shopping experience at CarMax would save you a LOT of time compared to what you would expect.  This is an area that I will expound upon later in this blog post because Key and Car Tracking software is very similar to the software used by CarMax to accomplish what we do… save lots of time!
  3. The Bright Side of Car Buying “Worry Free”.  This commercial talks about allowing the consumer to drive a car by themselves… buy the car… and have up to 5 days to return it hassle free.

All 3 of the CarMax commercials can be viewed here:

Click to see CarMax Commercials

Let me summarize this for you.  If you visit a CarMax dealership, there are no gimmicks and you will interact with an employee that is consumer friendly and well trained, you will save a lot of time during the buying experience, they trust you to drive the car by yourself, and you do not have to worry when buying a car because you can return it in up to 5 days.

As of the date of this blog, these series of commercials are still being aired on major television networks.  These commercials 1st aired 3 months ago.

To those of you that are reading this blog post… You now know what the extensive research of CarMax proves consumers are expecting of a car dealer.  And realize too, you didn’t have to spend all the research dollars to understand this.  Thank you CarMax!  and thank you Key and Car Tracking for writing this article.  LOL

Time Savings – Obviously Important /  Key and Car Tracking can Help!

A few months ago an ex employee of CarMax was engaged in a conversation with a close friend of mine.  My friend was explaining to him how Key and Car Tracking software accomplishes the goal of allowing staff at a car dealership to quickly locate both the key and vehicle that a customer wants to test drive.  It turns out the ex-employee of CarMax sole full-time job was to operate CarMax software for doing the exact same thing we do.  So.. my friend setup a meeting for all 3 of us to get together to compare my software to the CarMax software that he was used to using.   The reason for this was that this ex-CarMax employee wanted to consider becoming a representative for Key and Car Tracking.

We determined after this meeting that there were many similarities between their software tool and mine.  However there were a number of key differences.  We all 3 agreed that Key and Car Tracking software delivered a more cost effective solution due to no dedicated staff is required to operate the KeyNCar solution.  Couple that with the staff accountability feature and you could see that Key and Car Tracking clearly stood as a more robust solution for any car dealership.  It was explained to me that CarMax invested millions of dollars to develop this product with the sole purpose of saving time locating the vehicle and key.

Again to summarize.   CarMax spent $millions of dollars to develop a product to save time locating the vehicle and key of a car that a consumer was interested in test driving.   CarMax then spends considerable money on a dedicated full-time staff to operate this software tool so that vehicles and keys can be quickly located.  CarMax does all this because they know that consumers do not want periods of waiting time in purchasing a vehicle. Key and Car Tracking has a software product that is better than what CarMax uses.

If you own or manage a car dealership, wouldn’t you agree that it would be worth your time to explore how Key and Car Tracking could help you save your customers time during the car shopping experience at your dealership?   And for those of you that frequently lose keys and need to pay for replacements, our software could end up not really costing much to use long term.  What are YOU waiting for???

Quickly find vehicle & key

Quickly Find Both Vehicle and Keys

Social Pressure – Best Motivator?

Most people might assume that for someone to do their job to the best of their abilities, that money would be the best motivator to accomplish that goal.   We all have to admit that making money certainly helps many of us get out of bed in the morning and get out the door for our jobs.  However in a recent report published by Harvard Business Review and authored by Scott Keller**, Director at McKinsey and Company, it was revealed that Social Pressure is indeed one of the most effective and underutilized ways to motivate employees.  The link to this report can be found here:

Harvard Business Review – Social Pressure is a Better Motivator than Money

The reason for me to bring this article to your attention, is to point out that this is one of the primary motivations that allow our KeyNCar software solution to effectively work at a car dealership.  While I was circulating my idea for feedback to people that I knew in the car industry, I had a number of people share with me that my software only solution would most likely not work as I was planning.  Their reasoning was based upon their assumptions that the only way that my system would work is if I had 100% participation from all sales staff. (Which is a true point)  And as they pointed out… it would be impossible for me to get all sales staff to participate with using my system.

Fortunately for me, I pushed on with my ideas and we created our software only solution.  Just prior to installing our solution at one of the largest dealerships in the USA, there were a few of the old school sales staff that told me they would never use my system.  They felt I was creating more work for them and that they simply were not going to comply with the data entry requirements we were requesting them to accomplish.  When discussing this with them, I would always smile and explain that not using my system was not an option.  If they needed any help in using my system to please ask me.  They would snarl and walk away.

Finally the day arrived where we went live with the KeyNCar tracking system.  The rule was established in the morning meeting that day, nobody was allowed to get access to any key to a vehicle UNLESS they had the car checked out in the KeyNCar system first.  The grumbling started immediately after this meeting was adjourned and many people that thought they didn’t have to attend training were now frantically asking me to retrain them.  Needless to say the first couple of days there were some tense moments caused by delays in getting everyone up to speed on using the new system.  I will say that I was fortunate in that management was fully behind me in implementing our system.  Because of the management team, I was allowed to control access to all the keys and we did not hand any keys out from that moment forward unless they had been properly checked out.

Over the course of the next 2 weeks it was amazing to watch as the sales associates that had originally explained to me they would never utilize my system began to understand and appreciate it.  It was additionally interesting to see staff that were not computer savvy explain to me how easy it was for using my system and thanking me for the time they saved everyday.  And of course.. since our system allows all staff to see who does whatever to the inventory and when they do it, 100% of the staff at one of the largest car dealers in the USA are fully in compliance with using our system to save themselves and their customers time everyday.   Nobody wants to be known at this dealership as the goofball that thinks only of themselves and doesn’t help others…  Social pressure is a great MOTIVATOR for sure!!!

** Scott Keller is a director at McKinsey & Company and co-author, with Colin Price, of the 2011 book Beyond Performance: How great organizations build ultimate competitive advantage.

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Social Pressure Motivator

Motivator for Accountability – Social Pressure