Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
In today’s society, time equals money. GoMoto, an Arlington-based automotive software startup, aims to save customers time when it comes to buying and maintaining cars with its kiosk technology.
“We took the airport kiosk check-in model and applied it to the new car sales and the service lane of automotive dealerships so that consumers can have convenience, transparency and own the actual buying experience themselves,” said Todd Marcelle, the CEO and founder of GoMoto.
GoMoto currently has partnerships with Ford, Kia and Panasonic, and its kiosks can be found at hundreds of dealerships around the country.
According to Marcelle, in the United States, the average car purchase takes four hours. So GoMoto created 32-inch, large-screen kiosks to speed up the transaction process.
With these kiosks it can take as little as one hour to buy a car, since customers no longer have to sit at a desk, talk to a salesperson and answer a bunch of questions when they go into a dealership. Instead, they walk over to the kiosk and and begin their shopping. With those kiosks, customers can filter their car options based on their own personal criteria.
“It’s an engaging environment where customers have a sense of control because they can actually touch, move and navigate their shopping experience,” Marcelle said.
In turn, Marcelle said, the car dealerships using the kiosks see an 18-27 percent increase in sales.
“Consumers will typically purchase more… if [the product] is presented in a smart and intelligent way,” said Marcelle.
GoMoto also brings dealerships improved customer satisfaction ratings on maintenance visits, something Marcelle believes is imperative for the industry because satisfaction around auto service can be relatively low. Check-in for service at a kiosk takes little more than 90 seconds, while checking out takes a matter of three minutes.
Customers arrive at the dealership and, rather than wait up to 15 minutes to see a service advisor, approach a kiosk, check-in within a minute, drop off their keys and leave.
“Service is the lifeblood of our business,” said Marcelle. “When we can build solutions that create more loyal customers and increase the lifetime value of those customers, that’s where we can be successful as dealers and make more margin on new car sales.”
Marcelle created GoMoto in 2013 with one of his co-founders, Benjamin Catanese, because both of them own several car dealerships in New Jersey. It was at these dealerships where the men were identifying problems with their own customer experience.
“Instead of relying on vendors, I drew upon my experience as founder of other companies and as an investor, to build a technology platform to [fix these issues],” Marcelle said.
At first, they worked with a few dealerships in Philadelphia, where they created popup retail centers. Customers would come into the popup centers, go up to a kiosk to compare different car models and then test-drive the cars.
However, this model was unsuccessful so GoMoto pivoted and eventually created the kiosks which they continue to use today.
Even though GoMoto initially had its success in Philadelphia, Marcelle chose to base the company out of Arlington because he liked the people in the area.
“It’s the right market for talent,” Marcelle said. “[Arlington is full of] smart, innovative, hungry people that want to push the envelope and who like the startup community.”