Chad Collier on Addressing Gaps in the Customer Experience

May 26, 2023
Chad Collier is the Founder/CEO of Car Saver.
Listen On
Apple Podcasts IconSpotify Icon

Chad Collier is the Founder/CEO of Car Saver.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Car Saver is an enterprise e-commerce platform for the automotive industry, offering a complete 360-degree solution for buying, financing, insuring, and maintaining cars.
  2. The platform serves as a licensed solution for brands like Nissan, lenders for retaining existing customers, and insurance partners for total loss programs.
  3. Car Saver also operates as a B2C marketplace, powering auto buying programs for Walmart, IHeart, and other promotional partners.
  4. Chad Collier's background includes being a dealer and owning Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships across the southeast, combining his passion for retail and technology.
  5. The automotive industry is witnessing significant shifts and motivations, fostering energetic collaborations and partnerships.
  6. Walmart attracts a diverse customer base, ranging from value-oriented shoppers to millionaires who appreciate the value proposition.
  7. Car Saver aims to address gaps in the customer experience, such as facilitating online trade-ins, providing accurate financing structures, and empowering salespeople with transparent data and tools.

During Automotive Retail USA 2023 in Las Vegas, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier interviewed dealers, OEM representatives, industry partners and more, looking to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive louder.

This is Amplify, the retail automotive podcast by Reuters Events and ASOTU.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:00We're sitting here with Chad Collier, founder and CEO of car saver.

Unknown: 0:05

This is amplify, a retail automotive podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU. It's time to make the most innovative voices in retail automotive louder

Kyle Mountsier: 0:23

Chad, we had to come all the way to Vegas to meet each other even though we live like 15 minutes,

Chad Collier: 0:29

right? And here we are in Vegas. He's happened

Kyle Mountsier: 0:33

Hey, we got to do it in Vegas. So thanks for joining us in getting on the podcast. You know, you you sit in a very very interesting position in in the auto industry with car saver you have been through multiple places and the touchpoints that you have across industry partners and dealers and third party marketplaces is quite wild. Describe like where Car Saver fits in in the automotive ecosystem right now?

Chad Collier: 1:00

Man, that's a that's a great question we have,we have had the opportunity to work with a lot of different partners in the industry. And really fortunate because the amount that we've learned in the last decade, doing this has been phenomenal. But car saver, you know, our role is we're a in Enterprise E commerce platform for the automotive industry across all tiers. So we enable a customer to buy finance, ensure and protect cars. Really think about when you think about digital retail, we're kind of the entire 360. So we're able to buy a car on our platform, but you're also able to service your car and then upgrade it sell your car trade your car, you can do everything within our within our marketplace. On one side of our platform, we license the platform to the industry. So brands like Nissan or Nissan's e commerce platform in the US. We have lenders who who use our platform to retain their existing auto loan customers and help them upgrade to another car. And then we have insurance partners who we power their total loss program. So if a customer you know his car is totaled, they refer him to us and we are able to send them back to find a car from a dealer within our network. And then on the other side of our platform,we are a b2c marketplace where we power the auto buying program for Walmart I heart is a partner of ours and and some other promotional partners that drive traffic to the marketplace for their customers to be able to buy new and used cars. A couple things.

Paul Daly: 2:34

couple few things.What did you do before course be filming car saver?

Chad Collier: 2:38

I've done I did a couple of tech. I have a couple of auto tech deals. But my my background forever is I was a dealer. So I started washing cars when I was in high school and I would lead with that every time. Yeah. I'm a dealer. I spent 20 years in I own Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships across the southeast. So

Paul Daly: 2:57

the parts of it that you miss,

Chad Collier: 2:59

oh, yeah, I love retail retail is you know when retails in your blood, it never never leaves. So I'm a retail guy in and out. And I love tech.I love technology. I love what where our industry is headed,you know, conferences like this to see the the the motivation that that the industry have in the shifts that are going on, I think it's great. So we love we're so happy to be a part of it speaks

Paul Daly: 3:25

speak into motivation. Everyone seems really motivated right now, that cocktail hour cocktail hour just started. So if you hear a little bit of of shenanigans in the background, just putting that out there. It's a great industry, it really is talking about energetic, energetic people who actually like doing business together. And there's kind of just this very familial,like acknowledgement, especially if you've been a dealer. Yeah,you know, the fact that you just pull that I used to wash cars,like, that's my favorite part.Yeah, that's the best.

Kyle Mountsier: 3:53

So because you deal with so many different parts of the market, right? And you you touch the dealer, you touch the customer, you touch the industry partner, you touch the OEM, where are the gaps that you guys are seeing and finding in right now the customer experience? What are the gaps that we still have yet to fill as an industry?

Chad Collier: 4:15

You know, it's a good question. We started Walmart. So when we started with Walmart in 2016, our goal was to build a end to end all brands marketplace where customers can go into and by finance ensure all brands of cars. Our first customer we sold was a $6,000used car who honestly we thought that's probably our target audience. Our second car we sold was a $250,000 Bentley.

Kyle Mountsier: 4:44

That's not that average is pretty good.

Chad Collier: 4:48

Walmart store in Stuart, Florida. That was our second purchase.

Paul Daly: 4:51

What was the reaction when that second one came through? Well, because when the first one you were expecting that, right, like you said,you're like, okay, okay, this is what we were expecting. Great.And then The second one drops and what does the team do what

Chad Collier: 5:02

I love about it is the guy walked into Walmart walked up to our kiosks we have kiosks inside of Walmart, he walked up to the kiosk and he said, Do you carry Bentley's?And this gentleman was dressed very normal. And our associate I mean, we were brand new our associate, you know, said yes. I think we have Bentley's she wasn't expecting that that question but she goes to the to the kiosk and helps them navigate and surprisingly we had the exact car he's looking for and what had happened is we had a Buick dealer that was not only Buick, they were Buick and Bentley and so in their inventory feed they sent us their Bentley's with their Buick sticking with the B's right so we sold the Bentley but you would have never expected the customer look like what he looked like a Bentley buyer and so you know the old you never never prejudge a customer Walmart

Paul Daly: 5:55

says there's like really two demographics that shopped there right one is because they they're looking for the value like pricing like they need to buy the stuff that they need they need to go to Walmart because of the pricing to get everything they need and the other side are the people that just want to get the best price on everything regardless of their income level regardless.And what's crazy like I just need to pay that much money from Cocoa Puffs. Right right 179 is the price

Chad Collier: 6:22

he came in to buy his grandson a fishing pole come on he bought a Bentley literally when he came in for Walmart actually the number two place million

Kyle Mountsier: 6:31

times have you told it's the

Chad Collier: 6:34

number two place that millionaires shop. It's

Kyle Mountsier: 6:36

unbelievable.Place Sam's Club

Chad Collier: 6:42

because it's a Walmart competitors.Unbelievable millionaires like value as much as anybody. So I mean, that's right. At the end of the day, everybody loves value.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:53

How many times have you actually told the story of the first and second purchase out there because I've never heard that. You need to like shout,

Chad Collier: 7:01

we do need, we do need to share more it. We share it all the time, but I need to share more. If you guys haven't heard it, then most of the industry probably hasn't heard it. You guys gotta get some more people

Paul Daly: 7:12

to hear it now.

Kyle Mountsier: 7:14

But that is great. That's unbelievable. I can't remember where all that started. But I think it was like the gaps that we're trying to get. So there we go, we should we should get there because I feel like you had a lead to that. Yeah.

Chad Collier: 7:24

So on the on the gaps, basically, what we learned trying to solve for that breadth of a customer. So you had a, you know, use car buyer, we have a lot of subprime customers. And then we have prime cash buyers and trying to facilitate an online buying experience for all of those across all the different makes all the different systems, we have an automotive all the different lenders and lending we have an automotive was very, very complex. And so as we start started solving for it, one of the things I take a lot of pride in what we do is we solve we were solving for it for our own customer in Walmart, but we get paid through the Walmart channel on transactions. It's a transactional model. And so if a car doesn't sell, we didn't get paid. And so we were very motivated to make sure we connected all the dots and closed all the gaps. Because the end of the day, that was how we made revenue. And so as we started talking to industry partners who were looking to kind of do similar things with their customer experience, I felt like we had an advantage for a lot of those gaps, because we'd solved for many of them.And so some of those gaps are things like a trade in the majority of our industry still does trade ins as an online form of give you a value an estimated value. But have you come into the dealership, right? Well,it's hard to close an online transaction, if you have to go to the dealership,

Kyle Mountsier: 8:49

literally. It's not even, it's very impossible.Just calling speak.

Chad Collier: 8:53

A lot of our industry is estimated payments,you know, give you an estimate on payments, starting to get better at soft pull and some of those components but really actually doing a full financing.And one of the things we learned early was that customers don't know how to structure a car deal. Dealers are big prize,obviously the sales desk is really really good at that customers are not. And so a lot of the systems would just let a customer build anything they want any kind of structure they want. And then when they submit it to the bank, so it gets turned out. Yeah, well, I Oh no.And so, you know, building all that into the customer experience where in the back end, it is automated to make sure the customer is always building a structure that's within the lenders guidelines so that they can get approved when they hit submit. We learned we've learned a lot we have learned a lot about closing those gaps and a lot of the stuff work we deal with Nissan.Nissan's goal this year is to do15% of all their new Nissan sold through Nissan buy at home with online transactions so really seeing traction seen it really start to gain as we've, as we have closed those gaps. And there's still a lot of work to be done a lot of work. And I would say the handoffs and the way we hand off to our dealer partners and just continue to make that experience easier and simpler. Probably the last thing I'd say is, I think we're now at a point now where customers have more data, more transparency than a lot of times our salespeople do. Yeah. Our salespeople have to go to the desk to get all that information, when the customer has already got it in their hand. And so what's your customers trade worth? I'll let me go ask my manager. Well, the customer is sitting there with it in front of they've already

Kyle Mountsier: 10:37

done it on KDP admins.

Chad Collier: 10:41

So you know, I think we got to we got to get better at putting giving the tools to our to our salespeople,too, so that they can be as transparent as our online tools are with the customer right there in the in the dealership showroom and kind of eliminate some of those back and forth that take a long time and, and waste time and they're not transparent. Yeah.

Paul Daly: 11:00

Well, Chad, you made us laugh. You told us some stuff we didn't know. And it's really encouraging just to know your background and see you pushing forward. Thanks for joining us.

Chad Collier: 11:09

Thank you guys.Thank you guys for what you do for the industry.

Unknown: 11:11

Thanks for listening to the AMPLIFY podcast brought to you by Reuters events and ASOTU.For more engaging episodes like this, subscribe or follow us on your favorite podcast platform.You can learn more about our hosts Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier by visiting

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.