This article is a part of the CitySparks series sponsored by Verisign
You have to walk into a showroom to buy a car, but thanks to online portals, you can skip multiple trips to multiple showrooms and steer clear of traffic woes when you’re trying to figure out which cars you want to shortlist. Consumers today go online to portals like CarDekho.com to get all the information they need to zero in on the vehicle that’s the best fit for them. This saves time, effort and cost involved in visiting multiple dealerships to compare models, options, costs and accessories.
According to Alexa’s rankings, CarDekho.com is among the top 200 most popular websites in India. Its comprehensive digital platform is used by car buyers, owners, dealers and car aficianados and provides information on all things related to cars.
CarDekho.com addresses the challenges of the traditional, offline car-search experience. “Earlier, customers couldn’t get comprehensive information from a single source where they could also compare options, prices and even explore options between new cars and previously owned ones,” explains Amit Jain, CEO and co-founder of CarDekho.com, which was started in 2008.
CarDekho’s online model is proving to be a successful one. It raised $15 million in funding from Sequoia Capital in 2013 and received Series B funding totalling $50 million from Hillhouse Capital, Tybourne Capital and Ratan Tata earlier this year.
Amit says that the mindset of consumers has gradually shifted from the traditional way of buying a car to using an online platform such as CarDekho.com to research and buy a car. Change in mindset towards an online business that aims to fulfill a need that has traditionally been fulfilled by a high-end and offline experience has been gradual. “The convenience and quick access provided by online avenues, coupled with the increased security in online financial transactions, has brought about this change,” he says.
CarDekho’s role is to provide consumers with information through the content on the website and act as a liaison between the buyer and seller to ensure a postitive experience. As of now, the site lists around 1,400 dealers of new cars and more than 3,000 dealers of used cars. CarDekho.com gets around 10 million hits a month and the numbers are only growing.
“With the paradigm shift towards mobile, there is a lot more that can be done now as more people have access to the internet via a mobile than the PC,” says Amit.
The site currently cannot facilitate an actual purchase, but the way things are moving in this sector, that too could soon change.
CarDekho’s promoters wanted a brand name that not only represented their business but also had great recall value. Given the popularity of Hinglish, CarDekho made perfect sense. They say that a .com domain name was a no-brainer because .com is synonymous with the Internet and all things online. “.com should be the first choice for a website when a company wants to expand its reach and improve its branding,” says Amit. “The right domain name is critical to improve search rankings and the brand’s reputation online.”
The main challenge and opportunity for CarDekho is to build consumer trust, as buying a car is among the biggest purchase decisions an Indian consumer makes. As Cardekho continues to provide objective, transparent and fair tools, information and listings they will build credibililty and draw more car buyers to search online. Once you have identified a genuine need in the market and figured out how to address that need, a .com domain name provides the perfect platform to reach your target audience, much like CarDekho.com has.
Going .com to offer services in a traditionally offline market has allowed CarDekho to become a popular platform. Do you have a great idea? Put it into action, go big with .com!
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