Carmax has 156 locations in the United States with over $14B in revenue.  Established in 1993 by Circuit City, Carmax sold 582,282 used cars, 8,867 new cars and wholesaled 376,186 for their 2015 fiscal year.  Carmax 4Q unit sales grew 12.4% in 2015 compared to 2014, one of the major factors for growth was conversion, according to Carmax.

Carmax marketing focuses on making the car buying / selling process easy and reliable.

Let's analyze the Carmax website

Carmax Above the fold homepage

Straight forward messaging with a link that is powerful for the shopper journey - RESEARCH.  Already having an established brand, Carmax gives the paths that shoppers want.  Pretty simple, clutter-free and attractive.  

Right under the fold, Carmax makes it super easy to perform a car search.

 

Carmax Homepage - Why buy or sell with us?

The BUYING tabs list's out differentiating factors that Carmax believes separates them from other traditional auto outlets.

The same applies when you click the SELLING tab.  Very clean design without the clutter.  Messaging is on point - clear and concise.

CarMax Homepage - Financing Section

Clear & concise, spacing is great so far for the whole page.  A BIG link to their financing calculator - they are trying to help the shopper get closer to a decision on their website and get them into a "process".   

 

carmax homepage - appraisal section

Carmax addresses a HUGE part of the car buying process on their homepage - the appraisal. The layout has easy to follow steps and tries to get the customer in "the process".

 

Carmax Homepage - store locator

Carmax takes a huge chunk of their homepage and dedicates it to a store locator.  I'm not sure if this is necessary, would have liked to see them expand on the section after this.

 

Carmax Homepage - popular used cars

I love this section.  Through our research in talking with automotive customers, a lot of shoppers have an idea of what they want but they aren't nailed down to anything.  This directly attacks the decision-making process higher in the shoppers buying funnel.  Great section.  I don't know where you can go, but it seems there are endless possibilities to set this section ramped up and expand upon it.

 

Find Your Car Page

Carmax gives shoppers the ability to find cars in many different ways, great assortment of search options.  They have the typical listing set up, I prefer the gallery set up when looking at available cars, the gallery gives that "feel" of searching a car lot.

 

Carmax Vehicle Description Page

I believe Carmax's VDP is the best in the industry.  It's apparent that they talk to their customers and have figured out what's important.  The spacing, info and feel hit the nail on the head.  I'm going to analyze this page by sections.

Top of the VDP gives estimated payments, a ton of photos and what I think is the most powerful feature any used car website has - customer testimonials after they've purchased the car.  The shopper is getting feedback from like-minded people - this is the future of used automotive VDP's, IMO.  Their "process" gives the customer options of putting the vehicle on hold, saving the car or getting finance options.

About this car section -  great spacing and collapisable information, along with links checking the background of the car.

Story Time - Months back I did a customer interview and they told me a story about their Carmax experience, especially this section.  It was a couple and their daughter was about to turn 16, the father started a search to get his daughter a vehicle for her birthday.  Through all of his research, he landed on a Jeep Wrangler through Carmax.  The mother joined the research and on this section below, she clicked on the Safety Recall link.  The Jeep had a recall on electrical for the driver side door, it mentioned that a fire could result if not checked out.  That was the end of the Jeep, mom said no.  She then went to TruCar and landed on an SUV through a local dealer.

Ratings, Reviews and More Section - relieving shopper anxiety.  The Customer Reviews section is the single greatest feature on all VDP's, IMO.  It also gives the likes and dislikes of the buyers along with expert reviews, ratings and awards.

Customer Reviews Section - once the shopper clicks on the link they get a bunch of reviews with an overview at the top.  They also give people the power to write reviews on the page.  In this age and going forward, this is vital and a definite competitive advantage in relieving shopper anxiety.  The process of accomplishing this is definitely an endeavor of work that takes time, but each passing day you are further away from accomplishing this.

 

MyCarMax Account

People have the ability to create a MyCarMax Account that holds value for shoppers and customers.  Here is the registration page that explains.  The "We Value Your Privacy" section could work wonders on dealer websites concerning a multitude of areas.  

 

Car Payment Calculator Page

Best I've seen in the industry.  Put in the parameters of what you're comfortable with, then search the cars that fall into these parameters.

 

Sell Your Car Page

Pointing out again that the spacing, feel and concise message are spot on.  Carmax lays out specifically how they determine value and they try to usher the shopper into the process by scheduling an appointment.  Nailing the process is about timing, offering the appointment option at an appropriate spot on the website - not just in a line with a whole bunch of other lead traps.

 

Financing Page

OK, this page sucks - complete dud and waste of time.  

financing page.png
 

Research Page

Basically, this an attempt to get the shopper into a car searching mode.  It comes up a little short for me, but they do give shoppers appropriate ways to start the process of searching.

 

Positive Takeaways from Carmax Website

CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS ON SPECIFIC CARS - greatest feature on any used car website I've seen.  For the now and for the future.

Spacing

Feel and flow

Concise messaging

Car Payment Calculator - best I've seen

VDP

Negative Takeaways from Carmax Website

Finance Page - absolutely horrid

Vehicle Search Page - I love the search options but the listings are not as appealing to the eye as a gallery format.