Car buying can be a stressful experience, and understandably so. Short of buying a house, buying a car is often the most expensive purchase the average American makes. That means that gaining an edge, whether through extensive car knowledge or using sophisticated search tools, is vital. Leveling the playing field is never easy, but fortunately there are a handful of new apps designed to make the process easier for buyers.
Carcode SMS is one of those apps. It’s designed to take the confrontation out of purchasing a new car. The website plugin allows potential shoppers to text message directly with a dealership’s sales staff while mitigating the chances of unwanted spam texts. Much like Google Voice, Carcode SMS supplies the dealership with a local phone number that customers can use to text dealers questions about a car on the dealership’s lot.
As customers communicate with the dealer through their phone’s messaging app, the dealer’s sales staff responds via the Carcode SMS app, which allows the dealership to quickly address customer requests and keep track of customer service. The biggest benefit to consumers, though, is that the app allows potential buyers to opt-out of being contacted by the dealer by simply texting, “Stop.”
While Carcode SMS is designed to be beneficial to both buyers and dealers, the aptly named Auto website was created with consumers in mind. Au.to bills itself as the “Google for cars.” The car-buying search engine combines the functions of Google with auto-specific websites.
For example, while you can perform a traditional search for say, “a convertible with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer,” Au.to allows you to search using keywords like “midlife crisis car” or “soccer mom,” both expanding and narrowing the field. Searching for “convertible” and “midlife crisis,” for instance, could potentially eliminate search results such as the Chrysler 200 convertible, and instead fill the page with Corvettes, Ferraris, and more.
Though Au.to is still in the beta phase, there are plenty of live websites out there designed to make purchasing a new or used car incredibly simple. AutoTrader.com is one favorite. It’s basically the modern-day version of used car classifieds (and more user-friendly than Craigslist’s “autos” section ).
AutoTrader.com allows dealers and private sellers alike to list new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles for sale on a website that’s both easy to operate and to understand. It lets shoppers organize their searches based on anything from body style and color to year, make, and model, or features like navigation and leather interiors.
Even if you’ve got your heart set on something very specific, such as a used car with rear-wheel drive, a five-cylinder engine, and a manual transmission, you’re likely to find it on AutoTrader.com. Even better, it has a separate site dedicated solely to classic cars.
Although Carcode SMS is still very new to the market and and Au.to is still in the testing phase, both apps show lots of promise for potentially revolutionizing the car buying process. In the meantime, websites like AutoTrader.com are filling the void and making car shopping easier for buyers and sellers alike.