Online shopping is trending no doubt but will millennials buy their vehicles online? Well, CarPal thinks so. Riding on the digital wave of online shopping, this Chennai-based startup brings a platform that approaches car buying with an end-to-end digital solution. Said to be India’s first online car buying platform, the company as of now is present only in the south Indian market.
Speaking to Autocar Professional, Vignesh Ramakrishnan, CEO, CarPal, said, “This is an omni-channel e-tailing space for new cars. We are not in the space where we give the lease to dealers. We sell the car and the attributes along with them. Be it a finance arrangement or a used car arrangement we do it. There are two types of customers. One, who intends to buy and the one who is just looking. We tap into the one who wants to buy and not sure what to buy. With the help of a few online tools that we have on our website, the customer can decide what to buy.”
The company approaches car buying with an end-to-end digital solution with a first of its kind tech-driven multi-brand virtual dealership for new cars. CarPal is equipped and supported by strategic partnerships and collaborations. It works on its own pre-set pricing strategy with car dealerships that results in smarter pricing of products for car buyers, while also working with other used car dealerships and finance providers to provide every form of support for allied services revolving around car buying. “Some customers decide on their budget and affordability. So we have also incorporated an option of EMI on the website,” he added.
Touch and feel factor
Indian customers usually want to touch and feel a vehicle before they own it. But, that is difficult in the e-market segments. But, the startup has come up with a solution. With the customers deciding on what car they want from their websites, CarPal takes the car to their home for test drives.
Vignesh explained that “If a customer is looking at three different cars of different brands but of similar pricing, we can send these vehicles to their home. This makes them decide better and have a complete understanding. This is an advantage as they compare similar vehicles based on their needs. They can mentally map what they want to buy and it reduces the turnaround time. In regular offline business, while the customer goes to test the third or fourth vehicle of his choice, he forgets the experience of the first car. We have changed it. With this, the person takes fewer days to decide and buy a car.”
CarPal’s target customers are people who are digitally savvy, and people who want to buy a vehicle but do not have time to go to showrooms. According to the CEO, inventory of vehicles would not be an issue as they work with multiple dealers together. With the network they have across multiple cities, they can pick a car in Chennai and deliver it to other parts based on customer demand.
The startup has its network in Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Trichy, Madurai, and Pondicherry. Going forward, they are looking at tier-2 and tier-3 areas as these areas do not have a lot of showrooms.
Vignesh pointed out that, “I believe in a deeper approach than a wider approach. This is the reason why we are present only in South India now. For us, it is not a simple single transaction. We are connecting dots between the dealer and customers, and taking care of the purchase altogether. This requires a lot of work. Once we reach a decent mark of 60 percent target, we will look for the second-hand sales market. We are looking to reach there by 2022, and the expansion to Northern markets will happen later. The used car sales need to be offline as customers have to come and look at the cars."