Edmunds Hackomotive Validates Carfolks.com
Every one speaks about ways to improve the auto buying experience, so this past March Edmunds held a “Hackomotive” and invited 19 teams of people to compete against each other for $28,000 in prize money.
About a half-dozen of the 19 teams suggested solutions consisted of some element of online dating and matchmaking. “Most of the ideas conveyed the theme that car shopping is not just about making a purchase, but about creating a trust-based relationship,” said Edmunds.com CEO Avi Steinlauf.
In the end, two teams instead of one took home first prize of $10,000 each. Both winning teams recommended a process that, using social media and other input, matches a car salesperson to an individual car shopper by interest and expertise much as online dating services match couples.
Team “Tegrity said in its presentation to judges that its solution “demystifies and humanizes the salesperson, giving them a reputation and an identity,” and stops the commoditization of service at the dealership and to create trust and loyalty.
What is not surprising to the Carfolks team is that the winning solutions incorporated functionality that is already part of the Carfolks.com business model. By offering dealerships and their employees the ability to have a personal page on Carfolks they can promote themselves and showcase comments from their customers to validate the experience in the dealership.
In essence Carfolks provides a matchmaking service which allows auto shoppers to find not only the right dealership but the right salesperson that makes the potential buyer feel comfortable during the shopping process.
Led by Edmunds.com Vice Chairman Jeremy Anwyl, automotive insiders on the judges’ panel were: Michael Accavitti, vice president of Automobile Marketing for American Honda; Stacey Coopes, CEO of FordDirect, a joint venture between Ford and its dealers to focus on the buying and owning experience; Tamara Darvish, executive vice president of Washington, D.C.-based dealer group DARCARs and currently a board director at the National Automobile Dealers Association; and Carl Sewell, chairman and CEO of Sewell Automotive Companies, a privately-owned Texas based company with 14 dealerships that represent 15 franchises. Non-automotive judges were Michael Zimbalist, vice president of research and development operations for The New York Times Company who is a co-founder and former president of the Online Publishers Association (OPA), and Joseph Essas, chief technology officer of the online restaurant reservation service, OpenTable, and formerly vice president of engineering for Yahoo!
Posted on Carfolks.net on Sept 26,2013