Online Car Shopping

I’m sure you’ve seen the stats about decreasing retail sales and increasing online sales. You’ve probably also considered exactly what you might and might not buy online. For the longest of time one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen sold online was mattresses. Sure most offer a couple months trial period but really a mattress? Don’t you need to try that out in the store first? It just struck me as an odd thing to sell online. Then I discovered Vroom, a company that sells an even more unique product online than mattresses.

You can purchase a used vehicle from them in any of the 48 continental states and have the vehicle shipped to your front door for free. You then have 7 days or 250 miles to change your mind. The whole idea seems absolutely bizarre to me. Sure, I knew someone who bought a used car online a little over ten years ago but they went to get the vehicle in person. They didn’t purchase the vehicle like a box of facial tissue at Amazon site unseen. So you are probably wondering, can I save money by purchasing my next used vehicle from Vroom?

According to their website, the average vehicle is sold at an 8% discount when compared to a similar used vehicle. They compare the sale price of their vehicles to sources such as CarGurus, Truecar and Kelley Blue Book to make sure every vehicle is competitively priced. The average savings of each vehicle listed at the time of this post was $2,545. So yes, you can save money by buying a vehicle from Vroom. They also state they put each vehicle through a thorough reconditioning process to make sure it is in as close to new as they can get it. This sounds great especially with the week long trial period. You could use that week to take the car to your most trusted mechanic to thoroughly check out Vroom’s claims of selling you a like new vehicle. If the vehicle doesn’t check out, you could return it.

A quick note about free shipping. It would be convenient to have a car delivered to your door but it is also the hardest part for me to believe. I’m sure you’ve seen the destination charges on a new vehicle. Usually they are in the $800 range. And these vehicles are shipped in multiples on a single semi. So how can Vroom afford to not only recondition the vehicles but then also afford to ship a vehicle across the country for free? According to an article in Forbes late last year, the company has been profitable. So my skepticism about the sustainability of this business seems to off base.

So all in all this business sounds great but I personally would still be hesitant to buy a used car online. I would be afraid of the gotchas like they would come up with a reason why I couldn’t return the vehicle if I didn’t like it. It seems odd also to purchase a used vehicle without being able to test drive it first before signing over a check. I’m also one of those weird people who likes hassling over the price of a used vehicle to get a better deal. Another thing to consider is that a lot of dealers are offering perks by buying from them such as free car washes for the life of the vehicle as well as discounted repairs. The perks of the discount and the relationship you create with the mechanics and your salesman could be very valuable. If you could care less, then maybe an online purchase would be perfect for you.

The list of things that aren’t sold online seems to be getting shorter every day. Also, there is probably more things sold online than I even realize. I’ve never used Vroom myself, nor am I in the need for another car right now. When I do need a new car I’m still unsure whether I would turn to a company like Vroom or not. But if you’ve purchased a used car online please post a comment about it below. Also, if you fall into the boat of not wanting to purchase a used car online please let us know why. It is an interesting business that has obviously found a market niche.

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