Shift, an e-commerce marketplace for buying and selling cars, announced it is offering its proprietary software solutions to a limited number of dealership groups that may have seen a drop in sales as a result of COVID-19. The company is looking to work with dealership groups that have multiple stores either shut down or operations significantly impacted by the nation-wide social distancing orders.
The COVID-19 pandemic is fundamentally altering consumer shopping behavior across many industries and pushing customers online. According to Cox Automotive, used car sales have fallen nearly 65% over the last few weeks nationwide, and even more so in states with strict lockdown orders like California. Lack of fully digital transaction capabilities remains a barrier for many dealerships seeking to continue serving their customers, and to potential car buyers who want to purchase a vehicle but are afraid to do so because they can’t do so in a contactless manner. While some dealerships are able to list their inventory online, few, if any, have the capability to facilitate a fully digital transaction, and even fewer have a way to offer test drives to customers in an environment when stores are either closed or customers are unwilling to go to them.
Shift has spent the past several years developing proprietary systems that enable no-contact, fully online sales of used cars, both with and without a test drive. Like most traditional auto dealers and manufacturers, Shift believes that test drives remain crucial to the customer’s purchase, and has created a unique, patent-pending way to deliver these test drives to their location. In addition, Shift enables online transactions as well as offline transactions using a custom-built mobile point of sale application on an iPad. All transactions come complete with e-contracting technology, digital DMV title transfer, and the full spectrum of F&I products.