CarMax completes national rollout of omni-channel experience


CarMax’s omni-channel experience, which lets consumers buy used cars online, in-store or a blend of both, is now nationwide.

The largest retailer of used cars in the U.S. said Thursday it has finished rolling out its omni-channel capabilities, a process it started in late 2018 with the launch of omni-channel in Atlanta.

“Our omni-channel experience is built to provide a personalized, multi-channel experience that empowers customers to buy a car on their terms,” CarMax president and chief executive officer Bill Nash said Thursday during the company’s earnings call to discuss its fiscal second quarter that ended Aug. 31.

“It is designed as a world-class in-store experience, a world-class online experience and a seamless integration of the two, giving us the largest addressable market within the used-car industry,” Nash said. “No other used-car retailer is in the position to deliver this iconic customer experience the way we can.” 

The announcement arrived as CarMax reported record results for its most recently completed quarter.

With this omni-channel program, CarMax shoppers can utilize the company’s e-commerce to browse, save and transfer vehicles, while also lining up pre-approval and getting an online appraisal of their trade-in.

The transaction can be completed at a CarMax store or online, with options for home delivery (for most shoppers) or contactless curbside pickup at a store (which is available across the U.S.)

Why the multiple options? For one, the company says its research indicates consumers typically don’t want their car-buying interactions to be all or nothing, having to choose between either 100% in-store or 100% online.

The CarMax omni-channel experience is designed to provide flexibility and allow the customer to toggle the online versus in-store interactions based on their own needs.

“When we set out to create the future of car buying, we knew that customers wanted personalized, convenient and on-demand retailer experiences where they can seamlessly navigate between online and in-person, all on their own terms,” Nash said in a news release.

“CarMax has always stood for empowering the customer and offering an exceptional experience,” he said. “The significant investments we’ve made in technology and digital innovation, coupled with the tireless efforts of our 25,000 associates nationwide, enable us to deliver this iconic experience the way only CarMax can.”

Nash added: “I am confident our omni-channel experience, which gives us the largest addressable market within the used car industry, and our diversified business model will drive profitable sales growth and market share gains for years to come.”

Record revenues & profits 

Going back to the record quarterly results announced Thursday, CarMax said it pulled in $5.37 billion in net sales and operating revenues for its Q2, a 3.3% year-over-year uptick.

Total gross profit was at $752.1 million for Q2, up 8.5% year-over-year. Through six months, total gross profit is at $1.11 billion, down 22.9%.

CarMax pulled in net earnings of $296.7 million for the quarter, a 27.0% hike. Its net earnings per diluted share were $1.79, a 27.9% increase. 

For the first half of the year, net earnings were at $301.7 million, down 39.7%. Net earnings per diluted share were down 38.8% at $1.83.

CarMax moved 217,300 used retail vehicles for the quarter, a 3.9% gain. Sales through six months are down 18.7% with 352,358 units sold.

CarMax wholesaled 132,980 units for the quarter, a 5.1% improvement. First-half wholesale sales are down 20.6% at 196,275 units.

“We are very pleased to report record revenues and profitability this quarter,” Nash said in a news release. “The talent and commitment of our associates as well as the diversity of our business model allowed us to capitalize on the improved market environment to deliver a record quarter.”

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