Last week, Alibaba announced a partnership with Ford to help in selling electric vehicles in China. The announcement included Alibaba’s proposal of building huge vending machines for selling cars.
Recently, the firm came up with more details regarding the car vending machines. To start with, these appear to be mammoth versions of toy buildings from Toys R Us.
The car selling process will begin with the customer using the Taobao app to scan a car they would test and ‘potentially’ buy. After recognizing the vehicle, the system lets the customer choose a color. Then, entering basic info will lead you to snap a selfie and even arrange for a test drive, given the vehicle is available.
Once the customer gets to the vending machine facility, the order can be retrieved after showing their face for identity confirmation. The car will be dispatched right then and there. Following a 3-day test drive, the customer can buy the vehicle or arrange for another model via Taobao.
Alibaba revealed that two stores would be opened in January in Shanghai and Nanjing. The objective is to simplify buying a car with planning that involves opening ‘dozens more across the country in 2018.
Business risks like providing a car for 3 days and terms and conditions like the limit of test drives on a monthly basis are backed by Alibaba’s own financial service for vetting and identifying customers. Now, the customers need to be Alibaba Super Members to reach a certain limit on the credit-scoring service Zhima.
This is the first time Alibaba will have a physical retail presence in selling cars or vehicles. A three-minute video of the process seems quite convincing and promising as we approach January.