Alibaba to sell cars "like cans of coke" through a giant cat-themed vending machine
China's Alibaba sure knows how to move product (it is one of the world's biggest e-commerce companies, after all), and for its move into the automotive space it is pulling out all the stops. Customers looking to buy a new ride through the company will soon be able to take it for a test drive first, right after it's spat out of a gigantic cat-themed vending machine.
Stacking cars away in vending machines like this one is an approach used in other places where carparks are scarce, but Alibaba's Auto Vending Machine seems more geared toward a novel customer experience than addressing any space constraints.
The way the company imagines it, is when a customer sees a car they like rolling down the street, they can scan it using a dedicated smartphone app. The app then pulls up the make and model and schedules the test drive, right after the user sends through a selfie and some personal details.
Then when the customer heads over to the Auto Vending Machine, a facial recognition terminal identifies the user and has the vendor spit out their ride of choice. Through that same app, users can purchase the car directly or organize to test drive another that tickles their fancy. As for the cat, well, we guess it's kinda cute?
See how it works in the video below.
Source: Alibaba YouTube
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Then - what happens if it comes back damaged?
Smart marketing though - and at least a genuine buyer could try two or three alternatives without having to 'fight off' a salesperson.