Friendemic, providers of the only online reputation solution built specifically for the needs of the automotive and powersports industries, released the first of its kind study of online consumer reviews for CarMax and Carvana. In the study, Friendemic found that while both retailers have a strong number of positive reviews, the average star ratings of these used car behemoths on Google are lower than the star ratings of other publicly traded automotive retailers.
Friendemic analyzed over 52,000 reviews posted online by CarMax and Carvana customers, with the goal of understanding how consumers rate and describe their experience when engaging with the companies. In addition to analyzing star ratings, Friendemic applied topic modeling and word cloud techniques to uncover both positive and negative sentiments of CarMax and Carvana reviewers.
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“CarMax and Carvana have been exciting stocks to watch. They have done a great job of persuading both consumers and investors that they offer a customer experience superior to traditional dealerships,” said Steve Pearson, Friendemic CEO. “We wanted to see if that perception played out in what their customers say in public, online reviews. Since Friendemic already analyzes the online reviews for nearly every franchise dealership in the country, we could easily compare the online reviews for these Wall Street darlings to those of other major automotive retailers.”
The Friendemic study confirms what might be expected: many consumers enjoy the ease of shopping online, from home, having a car delivered, and perceive they spend less time on paperwork when working with CarMax and Carvana. The positive comments Friendemic uncovered that aren’t as widely known include the consumer’s frequent comparison of their experience to the “old dealership way.” Many consumers became self-proclaimed dealership avoiders after buying from CarMax or Carvana.
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However, the study also had some surprising results. One popular topic among consumers who expressed a negative experience with CarMax and Carvana was their disappointment with the quality of the vehicle they purchased.
Specific to Carvana, consumers identified issues with the actual purchase process, from bank loans to titling. “With Carvana, we did see a portion of unhappy consumers identify issues with the purchase process itself, and those who had difficulty in using a third party lender and in obtaining the car title often provided among the longest reviews, in terms of word count, as well as the lowest ratings for Carvana,” said Pearson.