Roadster lands Longo Toyota as client for online storefront

on Aug21

The site lets buyers pick a car, value trade-ins and find F&I options.

Longo Toyota, the largest dealership in the world, has signed on to use online retail startup Roadster’s digital storefront.

The El Monte, Calif., store now uses Roadster’s Express Storefront. The platform, launched last summer, allows consumers to complete transactions online and have vehicles delivered to them.

In just over a year, nearly 80 dealerships across 21 states have turned to Roadster’s digital storefronts. But the addition of Longo Toyota represents a huge catch for the online retail startup.

Longo Toyota sits on more than 50 acres. The store expects to sell around 22,000 new and used vehicles in 2017. It is owned by the privately held Penske Motor Group, which is separate from the publicly traded Penske Automotive Group Inc.

While Roadster’s storefront offers consumers the option to buy vehicles without coming to a store, its value isn’t predicated on replacing salespeople.

Longo Toyota President Brendan Harrington says the majority of consumers want to see vehicles up close before making a purchase. For those customers, Roadster’s storefront enables them to expedite things by completing much of the buying process online before coming to the dealership, which saves time for them and the sales team.

Harrington expects 20 percent of ​ shoppers using the tool to transact entirely online. With the Express Storefront, shoppers select a vehicle, value trade-ins, get approved for credit and pick their desired F&I options.

Harrington: Tech expedites the buying process.

‘They’re all in’

The platform has an in-store app that enables salespeople to work through deals alongside customers on iPads. If a consumer on the lot wants a price quote, Harrington said, salespeople don’t have to leave them alone while they get one from the sales desk. All of the pricing details can be accessed on the app.

Harrington said the Express Storefront doesn’t circumvent dealerships. He believes it enhances the value of the stores and adds transparency to the process for consumers who have trust issues with salespeople.

“The smart guys see right away it’s going to make their process quicker with the customers. Anytime they’ve got a tool that makes them look honest and transparent and believable to the customer they’re sitting with, they’re all in,” Harrington told Automotive News. “Our guys are like that way anyway, but people are intimidated and come in with bad experiences and expectations. Anytime our team can dispel that fear from a customer, they love it. Too often, the experience gets blown up because of that fear of the negotiation.”

Delivery already offered

Longo Toyota already has the infrastructure in place to handle online deliveries. In fact, making drop-offs is nothing new to the store, which Harrington says has delivered vehicles around the Los Angeles Basin area for decades.

The store has a team that delivers 1,200 to 1,500 vehicles each year. Harrington expects that number to double thanks to the Express Storefront.

Longo Toyota had been in talks with Roadster for around a year about its platform. Harrington said the store waited as the technology evolved and matured before signing on.

“We don’t move fast. We don’t follow the deal of the week,” Harrington said. “We watched the evolution and said, ‘Now it’s time to partner up.’ They keep pushing and enhancing based on feedback.”

Roadster CEO Andy Moss said the company worked with the store to ensure it was ready to handle the scale. Moss said Roadster has been on a tear in the last year, picking up the likes of Longo Toyota and other progressive dealerships such as Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura in Queens, N.Y.

Moss said securing such clients is important validation for Roadster, but added, “It’s getting rarer and rarer that we talk to a dealer that doesn’t believe wholeheartedly that this is the way the industry is going.”



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