CarMax Adds Mobile Payments-Style Shopping, More to its Lineup

December 7, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Omnichannel! It’s one of the great Holy Grail buzzwords of modern retailing, all throughout the spectrum. Basically, it just means “be everywhere your customers are or are likely to be”, with some adding “or could be” to the concept. That means having presences on social media, web chat, and of course, in the mobile sphere. That’s a point not lost on CarMax, a national used car retailer that’s taken big steps to incorporate mobile into the operation.

With the new measures, CarMax shoppers will be allowed to purchase a car completely from home, completely from a store, or in a hybrid process. With an express pickup option, it may now be faster to buy and take possession of a used car than it is currently to buy and take possession of takeout food for five; it’s estimated to take as little as a half-hour, start to finish.

It’s not necessary to go so fast, reports note; it’s actually possible to fill out the pre-sale and post-sale paperwork from home. Vehicles can be delivered to a potential buyer’s home for a test drive on familiar ground, and cars can be held for up to seven days, allowing even for transfers from other CarMax locations. For now, however, the program is only being tested in Atlanta, so it’ll be a while before it gets elsewhere.

CarMax president and CEO Bill Nash noted “We’re delivering on an unmet customer need for a car buying experience that is flexible, convenient, and fully personalized, with the ability for customers to get help when and how they want…We plan to continuously improve the new omnichannel offering and scale nationwide.”

Not a bad option, if perhaps a bit misguided. Anyone who’s shopped for a car recently knows how vital it is to look every model over for rust or signs of being in a flood or the like. Test drives are vital to spotting potential mechanical problems. Speeding up the process of car buying doesn’t really work out that well for the customer, except maybe on the paperwork side of things.

Sure, using mobile tools to find that car, or to fill out some of the paperwork after the fact, can be