California-based used car marketplace Shift recently announced the successful launch of three new major offerings for its customers: a new way to buy cars directly online; a machine learning-powered financial tool to help customers predict their loan terms; and appointment-based maintenance and repairs.
In addition to the startup's signature on-demand-test-drive appointment offering, Shift has introduced the option for customers to buy cars directly online, without any test drive or in-person visit necessary, and have the vehicle shipped to them, all through Shift's seamless digital process.
Shift's five-day return policy applies, ensuring that customers can return the car for any reason within that period.
"From the first days of Shift, we always envisioned that some portion of customers would want to buy a car fully online without first seeing the car, and then have it shipped to them," said Shift co-founder and co-CEO George Arison. "Over the last few months we have released this capability to our customers— expanding our forward-thinking, fully paperless car buying experience to include both test drives brought to their driveway and purchases completed online."
Since its launch in November, direct-online sales has accounted for about 15 percent of Shift's overall sales.
Shift has launched a custom-built loan prequalification tool to help customers get an advance view into their financing options. The two-part tool utilizes machine learning to predict a customer's likely loan offers, without requiring any personal information such as phone number, address or social security number. This helps customers understand their financing options without committing to a specific loan or lender, and with no impact on their credit score.
Once a customer has provided their pre-qualification details, they can filter out cars that fall outside their loan parameters, and view each car's price based on their estimated monthly payment. The feature allows users to tailor their preferred down payment and loan duration, giving them control over their shopping and financing experience.
"Making car buying more accessible and transparent has always been core to our mission," said Shift Co-CEO Toby Russell. "Now, consumers making a large, considered purchase have full access to key financial information from the beginning of their buying journey. This is a game changer for many customers."
In the interest of creating a more seamless ownership experience, Shift has launched digital appointment-based retail repairs and maintenance for customers in its Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area regions. Those who have an existing account with Shift can go online to schedule appointments for their vehicles for standard maintenance and servicing, and use the digital portals to view updates on their service, receive reports, and complete payment online. The average cost of services through Shift are estimated to be approximately 30 percent less than local market rate.