The process of purchasing a used car can be about as much fun as undergoing a root canal – a necessary but painful experience many of us are bound to go through at some point in our life. Unfortunately, access to information online has not improved the task of researching the ideal car – mainly because that information is scattered all over the internet.
With the launch of MSN Autos marketplace , the process of choosing the right used car for your needs – and budget – just became much easier.
For most of us in the US as well as many countries around the globe, cars are an absolute necessity. As well as providing basic transportation and giving us the flexibility that comes with being mobile, cars often represent an extension of our personality. Because of this – and the large financial commitment – shopping around for a car is a very personal experience that we find hard to carry out without being able to see, smell and touch in person.
Cars are also a huge business, with 39.3 million used vehicles and 14 million new vehicles sold last year in the United States.
The car-buying process is harder than shopping for other products. There is a wide variety of makes and models to choose from and a ton of research to do, making it overwhelming to narrow down your options and find the best car for you.
Typically, you’d spend hours scrolling through websites to research brands and models. You’d check for reliability ratings and repair costs. You’d read reviews from various sources, and of course, compare prices. Only once you’ve satisfied (or exhausted) your need for information would you venture out to view and test-drive before finally deciding which car to drive home.
Like I said – uncertain, convoluted, and time-consuming – but a common and readily accepted process. Then COVID-19 came along and changed the rules. Social distancing and other restrictions seriously curtailed ‘in-person’ research, leaving consumers to place more trust in online tools. While e-commerce in general has drastically improved in recent years, the idea of purchasing a big-ticket item such as a used car seems incredibly risky.
With information available everywhere – from dealer marketplaces, manufacturers, reviewers or influencers, and even friends or family – there’s no single point of reference. None of these sources offer the same information in the same way, leaving you trying to compare apples to oranges in some cases. Add to this the ‘noise’ of paid services and ads created to influence a buyer’s decision and it’s no wonder used car buyers spend 35% more time conducting online research than new car buyers.
How do you know which online tool to trust? Do you trust an expert reviewer, an influencer, or your family? We knew the whole process was overwhelming and needed to be better.
We started with a vision of creating the largest and most comprehensive used car marketplace. We knew one single site would need to include the most current vehicle information to make comparing vehicles across make and model easy. Users needed to be able to research across brand, year, make, and model using information from vehicle history reports as well as professional and customer reviews without having to visit other sites.
As our vision progressively came to life, we expanded to include images and a more visual experience that feels closer to walking around a car dealership. We wanted the experience to give you more confidence comparing a vehicle from different manufacturers or years or even dealerships so you can find the “one.”
With MSN Autos marketplace, users get information consolidated from multiple sites and sources to show all available vehicles in an area. Then, leveraging cutting-edge AI and machine learning, it generates recommendations relevant to your search parameters and indicates when a car might be a great deal. This takes away any need for you to separately check community sites, social network marketplaces, mega used car retailers, or the corner lot – the results are brought together into one place and ranked based on your preferences. This will help you make that all-important decision confidently, removing any “FOMO” on a better deal, the right options or just your favorite color.
No more scanning multiple sites, wondering which information or sources to trust, or holding off because you’re unsure of the deal. The experience of researching and purchasing a used car just became this easy – all from the comfort of your office, home office or even your couch.
This experience is available now at MSN Autos marketplace and is part of Microsoft’s growing suite of tools to inform, connect and empower you to achieve more.
For more information or if you work in the auto industry and would like to find out about participating in the program, email the team at [email protected].