Merchant Innovation

Vending Machines…For Cars Now Found In Nashville

If there’s one persistent stereotype about the auto industry, it’s that actually buying a vehicle isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Salespeople have acquired sordid reputations, and the mere process of going to and from dealerships to negotiate and take cars out for test drives is an intensive process that seems a bit out of place in a world where eCommerce is fast becoming king.

But what if all customers had to do was choose their car and pick it up without any salespeople to haggle with?

That’s the new proposal from car-selling startup Carvana. The Verge reported that Carvana has taken a step beyond its normal process of delivering cars to customers’ homes for extended test drive periods by opening a fully automated “car vending machine” of sorts in Nashville, Tennessee. Ernie Garcia, CEO of Carvana, explained that the concept behind the project was to make the car-buying process as simple and hassle-free for shoppers as possible.

“We knew that if [customers] chose to pick up the car we would save some money, and so we could invest that money in giving them a really, really great experience,” Garcia told The Verge.

“The experience itself is exactly a vending machine experience. The customer even gets a customized, oversized coin that they drop into a slot,” he explained.

A series of automated machines and robots ferry selected cars from their positions throughout Carvana’s five-story facility. Vehicles are deposited into bays on the first floor where customers can climb inside and receive pre-recorded instruction on the various functions of the cars they’re sitting in. Carvana doesn’t charge customers anything until they drive the vehicles off the “lot,” but even then there’s a no-questions-asked 7-day return policy – “test-to-own” – that Garcia calls a highlight of the Carvana platform.

“We even proactively call them on the sixth day and remind them that their return policy is expiring to ensure that they’re happy with the car,” Garcia told The Verge. “[It’s] way more useful to a consumer than four right turns around a dealership.”

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The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.