[Written in partnership with Caricarz, but the editorial team had full control over the content.]
Say you’re looking to buy a used car in Malaysia. What’s the first site that comes to mind?
If you’re like most of us at Vulcan Post, you’d be thinking of Mudah, Carsome, or Carlist. Nick Leong knows this, and as the co-founder of Caricarz, a newer Malaysian vehicle trading platform, building brand awareness is a huge speedbump (but more on this later).
Generally speaking, the experience of buying used cars in Malaysia is a tedious process, filled with scepticism from customers due to unreliable sellers.
It’s a common problem car trading platforms are solving, and the same can be said for Caricarz, which assures its buyers that its dealers are legit based on a stringent verification process.
But what makes Caricarz different from the platforms mentioned above, is its focus on supporting and helping traditional car dealerships.
Doubling down on car dealerships
Conventionally, dealerships obtain used cars from customers who walk into their stores to trade in or sell their used cars.
But the rise of online vehicle trading platforms in Malaysia has disrupted these practices, and car dealerships have suffered as most platforms forgo them in the process.
Dealerships also lack the database and access in finding people who want to sell their cars.
This leaves them with few options for good quality used cars in the market to source and sell. Some may even resort to purchasing the secondhand cars listed on other platforms at an affordable price, then sell them at a higher price to make a profit.
Founded by James Goh, Kenneth Goh, Eric Lim, Thomas Chong, and Nick, Caricarz’s aim is to help traditional car dealerships find used cars to sell, by creating a platform where prospective sellers, dealers, and customers can be linked.
There’s also a function in their portal where dealers can transact with other dealers, meaning they can exchange or trade the car models they have.
Another point to note about the startup is that they don’t actually have a warehouse to store all the used cars listed on their site. Instead, all cars are kept at the shops of each individual dealer, and Caricarz is essentially just the middleman for these dealers. “Kind of like Shopee,” said Kenneth.
Turning to traditional methods
To put Caricarz in people’s minds, the team chose to take the mass marketing route like billboard and radio advertisements.
This approach came off rather unusual to me seeing that we’re in the digital age where most eyes are on their device screens. On top of that, Caricarz is a digital platform after all, where a simple hyperlink from an ad to the platform may even increase the site’s traffic.
James justified that these traditional methods were chosen over digital ads on social media because the latter would only be seen by a niche audience. Such audiences would mostly include those who were already searching for methods to buy or sell used cars.
Caricarz’s goal was to ensure the general public knew its name so the platform would be a top option when Malaysians think of sites to buy and sell their used cars. And to achieve this, the team figured that billboards and radio ads that target the masses were their best strategy.
The team also believes that traditional advertising methods have a higher customer retention rate, as opposed to digital ads that may be seen today and forgotten tomorrow.
It can be said that Caricarz’s methods have worked, as the brand has seen rapid growth since launching in November 2020. To date, Caricarz has 1 million page views per month, with about 3,300 resellers and 20,000 registered users on its platform. The site has also achieved a minimum of 20% month-over-month sales growth rate, according to Eric.
Assurance is key
Other than the platform’s growth in user base, Caricarz has also gained the confidence of 47 private investors, who funded a total of RM3 million through pitchIN in December 2021.
The funds were meant to fuel the company’s expansion plans, which includes launching the platform’s Premier Selection category.
Meant to assure interested buyers that the listed cars are in good condition, Premier Selection cars have gone through a 100-point inspection against major damages from accidents, floods, and fire.
In the event that any damages are found after purchase, Caricarz offers a 5-day money-back guarantee and a 1 year warranty period.
Thomas hopes that the Premier Selection range of cars will be able to grow in the market, targeting buyers who want to purchase used cars with minimal hassle.
While what Caricarz is trying to do borrows elements from existing solutions across the market, there is merit in providing a solution to those in the market who have somewhat been left out.
Though they intend to help out traditional dealers, they’d also have to make sure they’re able to offer a unique proposition to customers to maintain the demand.
Featured Image Credit: The team at Caricarz