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Walmart Selling Cars - 1 year later (CarSaver)

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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It's been almost 1 year since Walmart partnered with CarSaver - a digital automotive marketplace and car-buying program. They started off in 4 states - Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia as well as on a microsite on Walmart.com (one that I can't seem to find anywhere on Walmart.com)

Walmarts partnership utilizes CarSaver's car dealer network which includes local dealerships throughout Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Virginia. It also leverages its partnership with AutoNation, the nation's largest new-vehicle retailer.

The CarSaver network also includes banks and insurance companies - in hopes to provide a better "customer experience," including upfront pricing. Once a buyer finds what they want, they are connected with a "express manager" to either test-drive or pick up the car at one CarSaver's participating local dealerships, which is typically within a 15-to-20-minute driving distance from a Walmart supercenter.

Where is CarSaver making their money? Automotive News reported that upon making a sale, the dealership pays CarSaver a fee of $350 in most states.

A CarSaver website claims the partnership will help dealers sell more cars by reaching Walmart’s 250 million customers and 1.7 million employees. CarSaver CEO is the industry infamous Sean Wolfington.

Another big box / non automotive originating retailer desperately trying to break into the car business.

Will this be the one that works?
 
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Alexander Lau

Banned
Feb 11, 2015
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I think the verdict is still out here. I posted a thread on this not long ago, but it died. Yeah, Wolfington.
 

ChrisR

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Oct 12, 2015
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Let's revive an old thread. CarSaver (for our location) has been an absolute waste of time. We have sold one car since being on the product for over a year. We went a week without receiving a lead from someone closer than 1,000 miles. There anonymized phone numbers only work for a few days, before stopping working, so if you can't reach the customer within that small window, you're out of luck.

Anybody else use it, and have any luck whatsoever? I have a cancellation email saved in my draft folder, in the event there is an a-ha! idea that can be shared to work on these leads. Overall, we're generally in double digit closing ratio for our internet leads, so I know fairly confidently that my team isn't 100% of the issue.
 
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Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Costco, Walmart, Sams Club, Best Buy, JC Penny, and Nordstrom are all great retailers that don't sell cars directly. Navy Federal, Bank of America, and Capital One at least have a part to play in the purchase of an automobile. I would rather get leads from a company that a consumer would consider talking to about a car purchase. When I'm buying shoes, I don't hit up my local BMW store. When I'm searching for a car I sure as shit don't go to Nordstrom. It doesn't even enter my mind.

The Walmart or Costco shopper that falls for the lead form is usually a bit far away from actually making the purchase. Or they're expecting some sort of blue light special.

When Walmart has a brand name, like KBB or Cars.com, as a trusted car-buying data source then those leads might make more sense to buy.

The technology (CarSaver) behind their platform is strong though. If they continue to make investments like that they might start converting shoppers who better fit what a dealer needs.
 
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ChrisR

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Oct 12, 2015
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Costco, Walmart, Sams Club, Best Buy, JC Penny, and Nordstrom are all great retailers that don't sell cars directly. Navy Federal, Bank of America, and Capital One at least have a part to play in the purchase of an automobile. I would rather get leads from a company that a consumer would consider talking to about a car purchase. When I'm buying shoes, I don't hit up my local BMW store. When I'm searching for a car I sure as shit don't go to Nordstrom. It doesn't even enter my mind.

The Walmart or Costco shopper that falls for the lead form is usually a bit far away from actually making the purchase. Or they're expecting some sort of blue light special.

When Walmart has a brand name, like KBB or Cars.com, as a trusted car-buying data source then those leads might make more sense to buy.

The technology (CarSaver) behind their platform is strong though. If they continue to make investments like that they might start converting shoppers who better fit what a dealer needs.

I agree with 90% of what you said, for the stores I have worked at, Costco leads close insanely well, and quickly for me. Otherwise, agree. Add to that, the Walmart shoppers are not traditionally shopping for items at a price point that I am offering. Will be cancelling CarSaver for now, and may revisit it, if they start to do better in the market, in the future.

Thanks for the insights.
 

Patrick O

Boss
Feb 18, 2020
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Patrick
CarSaver has been a mediocre lead provider for us, would've cancelled it but they gave us a huge discount if we pre-paid 1 year. We were hoping for a poor-man's Costco Buying Program, and that it ain't.
 
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Alexander Lau

Banned
Feb 11, 2015
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Alex
CarSaver has been a mediocre lead provider for us, would've cancelled it but they gave us a huge discount if we pre-paid 1 year. We were hoping for a poor-man's Costco Buying Program, and that it ain't.
That's kind of the going result from speaking to dealers that have used it.
 

ChrisR

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Oct 12, 2015
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That's kind of the going result from speaking to dealers that have used it.

What's hilariously expected, are the CarSaver reps who are shocked, just SHOCKED, that it isn't working well for you, because other dealers are doing so well with it.
 

Alexander Lau

Banned
Feb 11, 2015
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Alex
What's hilariously expected, are the CarSaver reps who are shocked, just SHOCKED, that it isn't working well for you, because other dealers are doing so well with it.
I don't think this should surprise anyone. I like Wolfington and A LOT (met him many times = good dude), but... this ain't great.
 
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