Grocery, snacks, clothes and electronics, to even furniture and medicine; in today’s day and age, there’s an eCommerce market for everything. So, why are we still lingering around car dealerships when you can get your dream vehicle with a few simple clicks online?
In Canada, there are really only two ways to purchase a car. You either spend hours at a dealership or meet someone off a third-party website like Autotrader, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace and negotiate their terms.
Dan Park and his team at Clutch are working hard to change how Canadians shop for their next vehicle.
“Ultimately, we want to be a brand that speaks to trust and transparency when it comes to a car purchase.”
“The world is moving towards a more digital format, and we saw that with food delivery. Uber Eats, I think, really pioneered a lot of what you see around on-demand food. In the same way, I saw an incredible opportunity around vehicles and cars,” said Dan Park, the CEO at Clutch, in a recent interview.
According to Park, Clutch has seen an uptake in users since the pandemic began.
“What the pandemic did was it forced consumers to recognize that there was a different option, and those that didn’t want to go into a dealership physically tried to go look for a different alternative,” says Park. “While I don’t know if consumer preferences necessarily changed during the pandemic, it certainly accelerated adoption for an e-commerce alternative when it came to car buying.”
So why the uptake?
Life today is fast-paced. People want to save time, money and find better and more efficient ways of doing traditional things. Clutch offers its vehicles at a competitive price, which might explain the uptake in people purchasing cars online.
“We don’t offer you a really fancy cappuccino when you walk in the door,” said Park jokingly. “We don’t have fancy showrooms. We don’t have dealer-based, commission-based sales folks. So we can pass any savings on from the decreased overhead onto the consumer.”
Additionally, Clutch has its own vehicle inspection facilities, where expert technicians meticulously inspect each car, further decreasing the overall cost while still guaranteeing quality vehicles.
But don’t I need to look at the car in person to detect any flaws and imperfections, you might be thinking?
Each listing has multiple photos showing each angle of the vehicle. Further, a vehicle that has a scratch on the right door, for example, will have the same mentioned in the vehicle description along with close-up shots of the flaw. “We put a lot of work and transparency into what’s listed on the website,” states Park.
Further, all vehicles purchased from Clutch come with a 10-day money-back guarantee. It’s kind of like going for a test drive, but instead of it being 30-45 minutes, you keep the car for 10 days, test it out, see if it fits your needs. Or better yet, see if it fits your driveway. It’s worth noting that day 1 of your 10 day trial period starts when the vehicle is delivered to you, and within those 10 days, you’re expected not to drive more than 750 kilometres.
“There’s always going to be a subset of people that want to walk into a dealership.”
While driving vehicles is inevitable for our daily needs, Clutch realizes that it has an environmental impact. Thus, another reason why purchasing your vehicle from Clutch in favour of traditional methods is to support the company’s broader mission. Clutch plants three trees in the region where the car was sold for each vehicle sold, in partnership with Tree Canada for a sustainable future.
The online market for vehicles is ever-increasing, and on the other hand, Park knows that competing head-to-head with in-person dealerships is a battle that’s not easy to win.
“There’s always going to be a subset of people that want to walk into a dealership in the same way that there’s a subset of people that don’t want to buy on Amazon, and they want to walk into Wal-Mart. But I do think that the value of buying online, the price, the convenience, not having to spend hours on a Saturday dragging your family to a dealership, certainly appeals to a large segment of the population,” said Park.
“Ultimately, we want to be a brand that speaks to trust and transparency when it comes to a car purchase. And when Canadians think about their next transportation need, they can think of Clutch as the first option when it comes to buying a pre-owned vehicle online.”
Clutch currently offers its service in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia.