Blog Post

Real-time Connectivity: The Next Great Frontier

Blog Post

Simha Sadasiva

CEO & Co-Founder
Ushur
in

Part of Ushur’s core culture as a company is a collective yearning to solve problems. We serve a core set of customers that tend to share common needs when it comes to customer engagement, but the way we’ve built and shaped our platform is rooted in a much higher level of analysis of the way people and commerce work. 

Ushur was initially inspired by disappointing user experiences within shared online marketplaces, like Craiglist or AirBNB. In these scenarios, the dynamic is simple: A prospective buyer or traveler navigates through a listing and makes a decision.

Of course, a dynamic so simple also means that there are questions left unanswered. And these unanswered questions come at a most inopportune time–at the height of the consumer’s interest. They are never more likely to buy than they are with the listing right in front of them, but if a key piece of information is missing most people will simply move on to the next option.

What if there was a way to connect buyer and seller in real-time? This question is at the heart of our innovation strategy, but so many industries have left this path critically unexplored, even as the demand for personalized consumer experiences grows daily.

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Today, customers are expected to wade through thousands of online reviews from unrefined sources to make decisions about a high-value purchase. Instead, customers should be able to interact with an expert who can navigate them through the process of selection, purchase, set-up, and maintenance. 

The auto industry, and the process of buying a car, is a perfect use case because it represents the intermediary point at which many organizations arrive and unfortunately stay. Buying a car used to be one of the all-time most stressful processes a consumer experienced. The people who sold them had bad reputations. Both customer and salesperson were incentivized to haggle, be confrontational and withhold key information. Most critically, customers never left the lot sure they’d gotten the best deal.

What if there was a way to connect buyer and seller in real-time?
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Fast forward to today, and buying a car is now just about as easy as clicking a button. Even in-person transactions are swift and painless because the internet has democratized information about car pricing. That one major point of contention–the best deal–has been removed from the equation. The salesperson’s role has shifted from negotiator to facilitator. What hasn’t changed is that the onus is still on the customer to do all of the requisite research on the car itself. The sale is quick, but the education process is long and painful. 

A few years back, I was in the market for a car. I knew the year I wanted, and the color. I wanted a specific interior that wouldn’t scorch me during a hot California summer, and I wanted to be sure it was a certified pre-owned vehicle. With such specific criteria, it took me more than six months to find the car I wanted. When I finally did it was in Texas, in a lot where it had been sitting for over a month. I bought the car via text message with the dealership within an hour, and they shipped it off to me the next day. I got the deal I wanted, they got the customer they needed, and everybody won. But what if I’d been able to see all the cars that matched my criteria by simply plugging them into a two-sided marketplace app used by dealers and customers? I’d have had that car a lot sooner. This should be the standard to which any modern, customer-facing business aspires.

While this all starts with customer delight and customer experience, the long-term implications are so much broader. Obviously, the buying experience is improved and differentiated. But customers are also more likely to make an educated decision. They’re going to be more satisfied with what they purchase, and less likely to be disappointed. Ultimately, people will feel comfortable making more and bigger purchases because when they do, they’re actually getting what they want. Real-time connectivity between buyer and seller is the next great frontier.

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