Today, many of us think nothing of using our phones to hail a ride, listen to music, book a night’s stay or even find a date. With just a tap on our mobile devices, we now enjoy convenience, transparency and savings at unprecedented levels. Technology has forever changed the consumer experience.

Consumers today demand a customer-centric, mobile-enabled buying experience, as they are accustomed to in different aspects of their lives. But the used car market hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years and remains a painful process for both buyers and sellers. It’s forecasted that in 2015, 45 million used vehicles will be purchased, representing one of the largest pieces of the economy. It’s a huge market with a lack of transparency and broken user experience. Technology can make the process pain free for buyers and straightforward for sellers while eliminating the need for middlemen. 


Buyers are ready for change

In a study released earlier this year by Autotrader, less than 1 percent of car shoppers and buyers said they were satisfied with the current car-buying process. The other 99 percent said they wanted significant changes, especially when it came to their interactions with salespeople and dealerships around test drives, negotiating deals and filling out paperwork. Most of the changes that the respondents said they want to see boil down to more convenience and an improved shopping experience.

An independent study commissioned by showed that 63 percent of auto shoppers have used their mobile device while at a dealership to research and shop online. The study also found that 59 percent of people used a smartphone for research prior to the in-store visit. 


disruption will help the auto shopper 

There is a sea change happening in response to this growing consumer demand, with a new wave of companies entering the market from different angles. There are more options than ever for used car shoppers, not just in vehicle selection but also in how and where they buy. The end result is a better customer experience in several ways: 

  • Consumer confidence and safety: The conventional private party market is full of uncertainty and fraud, which costs consumers billions of dollars a year. Buying a car is an infrequent purchase and it’s easy for buyers to get scammed, because it is hard to know what to look for. New platforms are making transparency their hallmark, with safety and fraud checks incorporated into the listing process and social logins integrated into peer-to-peer sales. 
  • Convenience and control of the purchase process: New solutions focus on making every stage of the buying and selling process simple, hassle-free, and convenient. Traditional vehicle salesmen are unnecessary as technology steps in to facilitate the process and allow consumers to buy and sell from anywhere and anytime. 
  • Substantial savings: It’s now easier than ever to buy and sell a car without a transaction fee, leaving buyers and sellers with more money in their pockets. Paying for a fancy showroom, signage and balloons is a thing of the past. 

We are only just beginning to see the ways that technology is disrupting the automotive industry in general and used auto sales in particular. Today, consumers have more choices and control than ever before. 

Val Gui is a co-founder and chief operating officer of the mobile used car marketplace Instamotor. Prior to Instamotor, he was director of sales at MobileWorks, a crowdsourcing company where he was the first employee. Previously, Gui was director of business development overseeing 12 dealerships on the east coast for one of the largest private dealership groups in the United States. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan.

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