There are currently two different business models for car retail.
First: a pure online model, where the shopper selects a car online and buys it sight-unseen. The second and more traditional: A shopper goes to a physical store and selects from hundreds of vehicles on site.
Shift, an automotive ecommerce retailer, doesn’t believe either end of that spectrum is the answer.
“We actually believe both of those models are flawed and dead,” Shift Co-Chief Executive Officer Toby Russell said in a phone interview earlier this month.
“And our thesis is, look, let’s work back from what users want. And that is, they want to be able to shop online, then narrow down and have confidence in the thing that they’re interested in,” Russell said. “But not everybody can go from hundreds of cars to the one, online. There’s something to physically seeing and comparing a couple or three cars.”
That’s a big part of why Shift is introducing multi-car test driving: providing more choice. The company has also launched a trade-in platform (more on that later).
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