I’ve read about MyLIVEoffer.com in multiple blogs and auto news sources, so I’m pretty curious about this new company. I apologize to the MyLiveOffer team if I get this wrong, but here is how I think it works.
- Consumer searches for a car
- Consumer finds the car he wants, and enters an offer price
- The dealer can counteroffer
- Eventually the consumer and dealer come to a price
There is also a bid system with a Buy It Now price and a hidden reserve. This could be a great idea, but I am a little skeptical. Here is why I think it could work:
- Experienced management team. The management team has extensive experience in the Internet, auto industry, start-ups, and search marketing. Given their business, this seems key. On the strength of management team alone, I would bet money on them achieving some success.
- Better user experience. Few people like to negotiate, few people like going to the dealership, so taking out the pain of these steps makes sense.
I think that’s where the advantages stop. The basic premise that people do not like the current car buying experience makes sense, I think Carmax’s approach has proven that, but why would a consumer prefer a transaction-based experience?
I think the MyLIVEOffer founders may have thought that eBay Motors does well, and they have a bidding/buy it now/best offer experience, so why not try it in the local market. Back in 2003 Autotrader tried something similar with auction style listings, but since they no longer offer auctions, I’m guessing it didn’t work.
Most people do not want to buy by bidding or negotiating. Almost every good one can buy has a fixed price, admittedly cars and real estate are a big exception. But, are they an exception because people prefer that process, or they expect that process? I think it’s just expectations, and people would prefer an easier, process, which I don’t think MyLIVEOffer delivers, instead of it just allows them to conduct the process online. It’s like email or instant messaging straight to the dealer, but with the ominous step of requiring a user to enter a credit card.
MyLIVEoffer duplicates the functionality of emails, and doesn’t provide enough of a different experience to make a consumer seek it out. If e never had to step foot in a dealership because of MyLIVEOffer, I would say it’s an interesting service, but if all it does is allow a consumer to “email” a dealer and then requires a credit card, I don’t see the benefit.
Feel free to let me know if I’m wrong.