CarMax wants people to know that anything Carvana can do, it can do, too. In the press release for the opening of its latest store in Maryland, CarMax says “Customers can also request transfers to the Salisbury CarMax of almost any vehicle from other CarMax locations throughout the country.” In other words, we can deliver any car you want just like those guys. CarMax also reminds readers that it “ disrupted the industry more than 20 years ago by offering a high integrity car-buying experience customers want that’s transparent and stress-free.”
Ignoring the goody-two-shoes stuff, CarMax is right that it gets too little credit for being a disruptor. The problem is that people only attribute disruption with technology. Really, disruption is about processes. Sometimes, technology aids that process and sometimes technology is the process.
The used-car business underwent massive disruption in the ‘90s, ranging from used-car superstores and CPO programs to the growth of subprime finance and buy-here, pay-here. Technology played a role, as did changes in regulation, but much of the disruption came from processes.