Tech Industry

Commentary: Can brand name help Amazon.com drive car sales?

Reports that the online retailer is registering a series of automobile-related domain names indicate that the company may be planning to make a move into online car sales.

By Thilo Koslowski, Gartner Analyst

Reports that Amazon.com has registered a series of automobile-related domain names indicate that the Web retailer may be planning to make a move into online car sales.

Some of the domain

See news story:
Amazon registers car-related Web names
names--including Usedcarsamazon.com and Carclassifiedsamazon.com--suggest that Amazon intends to have a presence in the fast-growing online market for used cars. This would be a logical step for Amazon, which already owns a 5 percent stake in Greenlight, an online retailer specializing in new car sales.

Amazon's strong brand and established reputation for reliability would give the e-tailer significant advantages in this market. Consumer confidence has emerged as a key differentiating factor in e-tailing, and this is likely to be especially true in both new and used car sales.

Car buyers who have previously purchased books or CDs from Amazon may be more likely to trust the same vendor with higher-ticket items, such as cars.

The company does face a number of challenges. A number of established competitors already occupy this space. Amazon would have to offer significant value-added services to differentiate itself from smaller, but established online car-buying sites.

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