Cars aren't clothes, but online auto research and shopping site Edmunds.com is hoping Groupon and SocialLiving's daily deal model works in the world of big-ticket items. The Los Angeles-based company is launching a program, currently in beta in one market, called "Edmunds Exclusives." It will ultimately roll out nationally, offering geotargeted deals for new and used cars to consumers.
The company is piloting the program, which runs on a platform developed by full-service group buying and social commerce company Group Commerce, Inc., in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. The program is set to roll out to other U.S. markets this summer.
Michelle Denogean, VP of business operations at Edmunds.com, tells Marketing Daily that the program gives people access to local deals directly at Edmunds.com, where people go when they are at the bottom of the purchase funnel and ready to buy. She says it gives automakers a topical sales ointment to treat inventory problem flare-ups that might not be responding to a more systemic treatment of national or regional incentives. A Groupon-type program for dealers and automakers, she adds, was bound to happen.
"It helps automakers and dealers who have excess inventory or oversupply of specific models, or have a need to get rid of the past model-year vehicles through additional discounts," she says. "So it is intended to be very targeted to areas that need that focused conversation around certain vehicles," she says.
The company, she said, had been considering a program like this for a while, "When the Daily Deal took off, it became clear that at some point someone would do this for cars. Why not Edmunds?"
The pilot version is offering invitations to visitors to Edmunds.com, and once the program launches in other markets, "we will be sending [consumers] direct offers through search strategies. Right now, we are slowly unveiling it because we are not officially launched until the middle of summer," says Denogean.
The company decided to start in South Florida because Miami is a mid-sized market and Edmunds has a presence on the ground there with Dealer Direct, "so we have a sales staff in that market," she says.
"Edmunds Exclusives" will offer cash-back, financing and leasing deals to people from dealers in their market. It may also expand to include deals on repairs and parts, maintenance and body shops, aftermarket audio dealers and auto broker services, per the company.
"It's [all about] where do you need to target sales and can we do it now in a time period to hit those targets." She says the offers will not be real-time, "but a lot of what happens in the auto industry is in a given month, where they are looking at sales targets."