Ryan Keeton is co-founder and chief branding officer of Carvana, an Arizona-based online car-buying platform, which has added Providence to its list of markets where delivery is available, bringing its U.S. markets served to 61. Keeton spoke with Providence Business News about the platform, what it offers and the car-buying experience.
PBN: From Carvana’s market research, what appears to be the part of traditional car buying that most customers dislike?
KEETON: We know that many people dislike the entire car-buying process, from hours spent haggling to mysterious fees to aggressive sales tactics. We’ve removed the pains of going to a dealership and replaced it with technology and exceptional customer service.
PBN: Carvana’s website offers 360 tours, but do you still advise customers to test drive these cars at dealerships before going online to purchase?
KEETON: Every Carvana vehicle comes with a seven-day, test-own period. The customer gets the time to see if the car seats fit, if the vehicle can make the tight turns in the cramped parking garage at work, even see if the cup holders accommodate their favorite travel mug. We believe this is an upgrade to the traditional test-drive.
PBN: The website also offers an opportunity for buyers to trade in their vehicle. How does that work?
KEETON: Customers simply provide information on the vehicle they’re looking to sell such as its [vehicle identification number], condition, etc. – and they get an offer from us in just two minutes. If they like what they see, they can sell the vehicle to us, regardless of whether they are buying a car from us; and if they are located in one of our 61 markets, we’ll come pick up the vehicle. If the customer would like to apply the trade-in value to their purchase with us, they can easily use it as a down payment.
PBN: Are there any new things or features that Carvana plans to add in the future?
KEETON: While we can’t go into specifics, we’re excited to be a part of the future of car buying.
PBN: Is buying such a big-ticket item still somewhat nerve-wracking for some, or do you feel consumers are used to online buying now, no matter what size purchase it is?
KEETON: Our growing customer base has shown that more and more people are excited about the new way to buy a car. For those who are unsure or would like further peace of mind, our customer advocates are ready to chat with them via phone, email or text. Buying a car is a big financial decision and we want every customer to feel informed and empowered every step of the way.
Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.