August 21, 2017 | Portfolio

Announcing our investment in Roadster

John Cowgill

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John Cowgill

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Be it clothes, glasses, cosmetics, or even insurance, it’s almost hard to remember a time when retailers hadn’t embraced digital commerce as a key part of the consumer journey.

But buying a new car — one of the most significant purchases consumers make — remains shockingly antiquated. Consumers begin the journey scouring websites, only to find limited visibility into local inventory and pricing. Armed with a vague sense of what they might want, these sites direct consumers to visit a local dealership. Buyers then spend hours understanding options and negotiating a price. And even once a deal is reached, it takes another four hours to fill out all the paperwork!

Consumers are clamoring for a new experience. A survey of 4,000+ new car buyers showed 99% of people don’t like the car buying process as it is today¹.

  • 75% of buyers would prefer to complete paperwork online.
  • 75% want a faster buying experience.
  • 80% expect to use multiple devices as part of their shopping and researching experience.

But improving the car buying experience isn’t as simple as “take the whole process online.” A car is a significant decision. Dealers play an important role enabling customers to see the product first-hand and think through options. And for all the pain in other parts of buying a car, who doesn’t enjoy a test drive?

This is why we’re thrilled to announce our investment in Roadster. They got the mix right: work directly with dealerships and car brands to modernize the car buying experience by digitizing what people want to do online while preserving and enhancing what’s best about the dealership experience. Roadster pulls a dealer’s inventory and automatically creates an “Express Storefront” — a fully-featured e-commerce site, with precise details on current inventory, options & upgrades, financing terms, and pricing that consumers can view on any device.

Buyers can purchase a car directly on the site, or visit the dealership and pick the journey up right where they left off. At the dealership, sales associates use the Express Storefront on tablets to access the deal, bring options & packages to life, and speed up the closing process in a beautiful, easy-to-use interface.

The feedback from customers confirmed how much better the buying experience was. Net promoter score from car buyers stood at +85, higher than beloved e-commerce platforms like Amazon (+70) and more than double the car dealership industry average. Car dealers reported Roadster saved salespeople on average 3–6 hours of paperwork per car sold. Perhaps most exciting to dealers, consumers who came in store from Roadster’s platform closed at 3x the rate of other online leads.

The value Roadster is delivering for dealerships is reflected in their incredible momentum. In less than twelve months in market, Roadster has partnered with multiple top 10 dealerships and dealer partners including Paragon Honda & Acura, Crown Toyota, Rallye BMW, Norm Reeves Honda Irvine and the Price Simms Auto Group. And we’re thrilled to announce Roadster’s new partnership with Toyota Longo, the largest car dealership in the world.

Roadster’s traction is made possible by their team of e-commerce and auto industry veterans. Andy Moss (Founder & CEO) previously founded a string of successful consumer businesses including Shopstyle (acquired by PopSugar) and FabKids (acquired by JustFab). He is joined by Rudi Thun (COO) and Michelle Denogean (CMO), auto industry executives from eBay Motors and Edmunds. We’ve been blown away by their execution, commitment to the customer, and vision for the future of the car buying process.

Roadster is live today in 21 states and across 22 brands. If you’re interested in trying Roadster yourself, see the online storefront they’ve set up with Rallye BMW, one of the largest BMW dealers in the country. It’s actually fun; the first time I tested it I found myself spending nearly an hour clicking through all the models and options (and trying to find a financing package that could work for me!).

An investment is just the beginning of a long journey, and we’re thrilled to be off to the races with Roadster.