Power to the People: When Car Shopping Goes Mobile

5 Minutes Read


Today we continue our journey down the rabbit hole of the mobile economy. In this post, we’re looking at how mobile eCommerce has changed one of the biggest industries for the better of the average buyer—the car industry.

Ever since they came into existence, using the phrase “car salesman,” to describe someone has been a searing remark. They have a universal perception as someone to keep your guard up around, who might take advantage of you if you’re not careful. Now, we know this isn’t fair, and that the world is chock full of lovely car salesmen with big ole hearts who just want to help.

But there’s a reason this stigma exists. Because for so long, buying a car was a blind buy, and it certainly wasn’t an equal relationship when it came to power. There was Joe Schmoe, with nothing to go off but the word and expertise of the salesman. And there was the salesman, holding all the aces. Deals were decided on a mixture of gut feelings and bringing your dad along (who will always know more than you).

The Mobile Economy Changes the Car Shopping Game

When car shopping became a part of the mobile economy, everything changed. And that change was for the better of the buyer. Shoppers were no longer reliant on the car salesman as the “expert.” Instead, they had a trove of information in their pocket, from peer feedback to public records. And it didn’t just change the way we shop we professional dealers, it changed private purchases, too. No more rolling the dice on buying a car from the guy down the road, only to find out in six months it’s a lemon. Thanks to a whole host of apps, you can now collect just about any information you need to successfully buy and sell a good car.


The Research

The power of information in your hand has been the revolution of the mobile internet for over 20 years. Now you can find specific details, apply for a loan, or scroll through options for both what you want to drive, as well as what you want to pay. It has never been so easy to shop for a car. Here are some of the informational sites, to help you make the best decision. 


We can’t think of a more awesome app to kick this list off with than CarFax. Those creepy fox commercials from years ago may have given you the heebie-jeebies, but man was it a brilliant idea. With CarFax, car shoppers have access to a vehicle’s history in their pocket. They can look at records of damage reports, how many times the car has been serviced, and what for. The app allows you to shop with confidence that you get a vehicle with the right history for you. The company is doing so well, in fact, that they’ve now expanded their services to buying and selling used cars as well.


Instamotor takes it one step further than CarFax, going the extra mile to do their due diligence. Not only do they offer vehicle history reports, they also screen all the used cars they list online for things like salvage title, lemon history weather damage and more. The concept? They weed out the duds so you don’t have to. It means that as you scroll through, you can know you’re not wasting your time or getting your hopes up on a vehicle that will end up being a headache. Then, they let you connect with the seller mono-y-mono. Simply open the app, find the car you like, and give them a call. There are no transaction or commission fees, just a really simplified process that can all be done from your phone.

Kelly Blue Book

If you’re looking to sell your vehicle, there’s probably no app better to have on deck than Kelley Blue Book. What started as a simple price check has evolved into a full-scale service for anyone wanting to sell their vehicle. The app lets you enter in detailed information about your car and evaluates its worth. And you’ve got a couple of options to choose from, as Kelly Blue Book will show you your trade-in value, private sale value, donation value, or even an immediate cash offer by them. You can even find cars for sale through them, as well as expert advice about makes and models, as well as the latest car news.

AutoTrader, Edmunds, and Cars.com

All of these apps are great ways to find and sell a vehicle for anyone who’s in the market. They are the original crew that first shook the world up it’s bootstraps when they emerged on the scene. Their creation jostled the power out of the salesman’s pocket and right into the phone in yours. Car shoppers can scan through each app, comparing vehicles and widening their search, all while waiting for the coffee to brew or the traffic to move.


The deals

Now you have done your homework and you have the car you know you want and is going to be the best deal in your sights. Not only can you go into a dealership, or peruse online for what's available, but you can also find exactly what you want sitting on your couch, or taking a break in your day at a coffee shop. 


Carvana is the is virtual vending machine of car buying. Cutting out the dealerships translates to lower cost on every vehicle sold. What does that mean? The savings gets passed on to you in four ways: lower prices, premium cars, a better experience, and no hidden fees. They put you in total control of the purchase process, and give you a 100 day/4,189 mile Worry Free Guarantee.

Cars you can count on. That's their motto. Their inventory is largely luxury and foreign cars, but the price is comparable to vehicles that are a bit more basic. Every car in their inventory is certified, passing a rigorous series of checks, helping you understand the value of the car and making sure you are getting your money's worth. 

They're open 24 hours a day so you can buy whenever you want. You are able to use your computer or your phone so you can buy however you want. You also can buy wherever you want, like the comfort of your couch and not a dealership. Revolutionizing the car purchase in a mobile world; that's Carvana



Truecar is a mix of Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports. Every new vehicle on TrueCar has a unique price curve data visualization that shows you what your neighbors paid for that same car: make, model, color and style. This curve comes from our detailed analysis of local market transactions and is updated daily. Finally, you can cut through the numerical clutter of car buying and view a single validated price on the exact car or truck you want. TruePrice's value is powered by over 16,000 dealers, uniquely setting their prices in TrueCar knowing you will see their prices alongside what other people paid.

They call this the TrueCar Price Curve. It is made to answer the buyer's question, "How do I know that the price I see on this car is a good price?” There hasn't been a great answer to this question, until now. With TrueCar, a Certified Dealer gives you an upfront, discounted price that includes all fees, accessory costs and incentives. This is your TruePrice, the price you’ll pay at the dealership. Better than any price you will find on other websites, backed by data and transparent down to the last detail. That's one heck of a deal! 



Vroom is a car selling company that is focused on delivering the car to you. The professionalism, the sales process, the fairness, the commitment, transparency and truth in the whole process; it's all geared toward taking you out of a dealer-dependent situation, and giving you the leverage in the purchase. With access to CarFax, car shoppers can find out the details of each car's history; owner's accidents, miles and features, before they look to have it delivered. 

Vroom eliminates the middleman and makes the entire car buying process more efficient. As a result, savings get passed on to the consumer. Add some easy online financing to the recipe and you have a very consumer-friendly car buying experience. 


The Verdict

When car shopping went mobile it took off just like the auto industry did at its inception. As technology increases and demand rises, new and more convenient options will come to the front. We know that the old way of buying, researching and finding a car will go the way of the Dodo. So get out your phone or your tablet and find out how you can get a new ride, fast and conveniently; the way car buying should be.


Subscribe to the Blog! 


Picture of Meg Sepulveda

Meg Sepulveda

Social Media Manager

Meg is the Social Media Manager for PRIME. She develops outbound strategies and inbound automation for clients through email marketing, social media, and market segment analysis. With a passion for understanding the customer's journey, Meg navigates the ever-changing business landscape by looking for new and unique marketing methodologies. Meg sets her campaigns up for success through research and analysis, utilizing social media and paid advertising to deliver content with robust ROIs.