I have been writing about Digital Retail for several years now. Keeping tabs on the players was part of my job at Safe-Guard, and people still call for my notes. Since I am moving on to a new venture, I figured I would simply publish the list.
First, some notes about the category. I split out online car dealers, TPC platforms, and finance-first sites. Obviously, CarMax is omnichannel, but they’re not a software vendor. My definition of a digital storefront is given here, and I differentiate then from TPC sites here.
Anybody with a foothold in the dealer’s website is using it to pivot into digital retail.
The “pivoter” category from this last article is especially relevant, as more and more vendors transition into the space and flesh out their offerings. Finance-first sites are those, like Rodo and AutoGravity, where customers go for finance and then turn over to a dealer.
List of Automotive Digital Retail Vendors
- Roadster – Roadster’s Express Storefront was the first to use the “plug-in” delivery strategy. They are in some very innovative dealers, like Paragon and Galpin.
- TagRail – Similar to Roadster. My pal Kiran using analytics as a differentiator. Now owned by digital marketing firm Fox. I wrote about DR and Marketing tie-ups in my survey, DR and Dealer Websites.
- MotoInsight – I did an OEM project with Moto, and visited their offices in Toronto. I like the team, and what I especially like is the idea that dealers will use the same system instore that the customer uses online. I profiled them here.
- Gubagoo – Gubagoo started as a chat engine, and has now developed a DR solution called Clicklane for Asbury Automotive. Lithia also has a branded DR offering, called Driveway.
- Modal – Formerly Drive, from serial entrepreneur Aaron Krane. I cited Krane and Roadster CEO Andy Moss, here, as examples of “disrupters” from outside the industry. Modal has recently inked a deal with Honda, and raised $15 million in funding.
- CarNow – Another entrant from the chat space, I was surprised to discover so many dealers using CarNow’s BuyNow plug-in. It seems to be especially popular on Dealer.com sites.
- AutoFi – AutoFi expanded successfully from a finance plug-in to full DR with Express Checkout, used by a number of dealers including Ricart Ford.
- Darwin – Darwin is unique in having pivoted to DR from an instore system. They’re at Herb Chambers, branded as Smart Buy, and also my local Atlanta dealer, Jim Ellis.
- Digital Motors – This is a very new entrant (2020) but a strong team including Andy Hinrichs, formerly of AutoGravity.
- Dealer eProcess – Getting DR from your website provider seems like a good idea, buy my survey found few instances of it. Others in this category are Dealer Fire and Dealer Inspire.
- Make My Deal – MMD is gone now, folded into Accelerate and attached to DDC. So, it’s in the dealer website category, not a storefront.
Sorry if I missed anyone. New entrants pop up every day. I would say that the space is becoming crowded, but there are still thousands of unserved dealers. Follow my Twitter feed, @ViragConsulting and the #DigitalRetail tag, for regular updates.