How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

A Guide to Becoming the Amazon of the Industry

How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

The automotive industry has undergone significant transformation in recent years, including car shares and subscriptions, the rise of car tech and driverless cars, and the entry of “new” used car sales models (think Carvana, EchoPark) that have flipped the used car experience on its head. The upheaval caused by the pandemic has only accelerated these changes, ushering in new consumer behaviors and reshaping the industry. The virus has metaphorically put the pedal to the medal and it’s not letting the industry near the brakes. For decades, auto retail and dealerships haven’t had to change, and car buyers have been forced to play by their rules.

Now, everything has changed.

  • Dealers were forced to figure out new purchase and service experiences on the fly
  • Consumers demanded auto delivery
  • Carvana offered Touchless Delivery, all but eliminating the annoying salesperson when making a purchase or sale
  • With customers getting a taste of shopping for cars their way, there's no going back for the industry

3 key components to the 21st century auto experience

  1. Embrace Change and Eliminate Pain Points
    The pandemic forced dealerships to rethink their traditional models, creating new purchase experiences on the fly. To succeed in the 21st century, it’s crucial to eliminate historical pain points associated with pushy salespeople and mistrust. Leveraging digital tools, such as those that helped us propel EchoPark Automotive to $1.2 billion in just five years, empowers consumers and builds trust.

  2. Offline-to-Online Transition
    EchoPark stands out as the ultimate 21st century car dealer by prioritizing the customer experience. Drawing inspiration from successful retail models, the goal is to seamlessly deliver an exceptional experience from offline to online. This transition mirrors the convenience and efficiency associated with the Amazon shopping experience, offering customers a hassle-free journey in the world of auto sales.

  3. Introduce a Mobility Experience
    In a departure from the industry’s traditional approach of locking customers into a single choice, consider offering experience-focused options through subscription-style plans. Imagine a family having a spacious minivan for weekdays and a fun SUV for weekends. By providing flexible and personalized choices, dealerships can cater to evolving consumer preferences and set themselves apart in the market.

A Case Study: EchoPark’s Revolutionizing Approach

To explore this idea further, let's dive into the details of our work with EchoPark.

What do you think of when you hear “Used Car Shopping”? You probably cringe a little as you conjure up an image of a salesperson who might be three parts smarmy, slippery, and dishonest. And then there’s the idea of walking a used car lot and wondering if something is wrong with the vehicle. Has it been in an accident? How close is it to being out of warranty? Will it last more than a month once you drive it off the lot? Sounds like fun, right? Who wouldn’t want to go used car shopping?!

With stress and an untrustworthy perception of the industry on the rise, Sonic Automotive recognized the need to revolutionize the pre-owned auto industry, leading to the creation of EchoPark.Through extensive customer research, the brand addressed pain points along the buying journey, resulting in a state-of-the-art, friendly, and trustworthy dealership experience.

Key Strategies Implemented by EchoPark

  1. Understanding the Pain Points
    Extensive research, including customer insights, secret shopper evaluations, and retail trend analysis, paved the way for a strategy centered on meeting guests’ needs and eliminating pain points along the buying journey. This approach fosters an environment of trust, resulting in long-term customer relationships with Sonic.

    How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

  2. Seamless Digital & Design
    EchoPark’s contemporary design featuring warm colors, couches, and an open layout, bolsters welcoming conversation and encourages dialogue about the buyers’ needs. The digital strategy includes well-informed sales staff armed with tablets and other tools that help them pinpoint customer needs, enabling them to assist consumers anywhere on the premises.

    How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

    And it’s not technology for technology sake. It’s seamless within the environment and encourages customers to shop at their own pace, improving the experience and building trust.
  3. Built for Ease & Scale
    EchoPark’s success is attributed to its efficient store development model. The first store opened in just 18 months, with comprehensive design details and guidelines provided by WD Partners aiding subsequent store developments. This approach ensures consistency, brand standards, and capability.

    How to be the Amazon of Auto Sales

The result: not simply the execution of a store, but the creation and growth of a brand with consistency and scale in mind.

Between helping create a billion-dollar brand for Sonic Automotive and working with leading auto brands on defining the dealer experience of the future, we're driving change in the industry.

Ready to ignite your auto experience? Contact Mark Bateman at

About Wayfind

Lost and in need of guidance? That’s why we created Wayfind—the WD blog designed to be your beacon in this rapidly evolving world. In these short, thought-provoking reads, you’ll discover insights into the minds of your consumers and be inspired to go out into the world to create your own extraordinary experiences.

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