6 minute read - Jun 09, 2020

How car dealers can create the perfect curbside test drive

Tips on how to create the perfect curbside test drive program and how photography can improve the quality of test drive leads.
Darren Blench
Enterprise Partnerships

Getting a car buyer behind the wheel and taking a test drive remains the best way to sell a car. But with less car buyers willing to visit a dealership due to concerns over social distancing, sellers need a way to get car buyers behind the wheel that’s safe, convenient, and enjoyable. The solution? Curbside test drives. We took at the programs of some of the biggest automotive dealers and put together some pointers on how to create the best curbside test drive program.

Get all the boring paperwork out of the way before pickup

Filling out paperwork is a hassle, and it’s the last thing car buyers should worry about when they should be focusing on how excited they are to pick up their car for a test drive! Things like verifying credit, insurance, and identity should all be done online or over the phone before a buyer comes to pick up their car. All a customer should need to do when they arrive on the lot is to show an authentication number or QR code. Make the pick up process simple so car buyers can focus on fully enjoying their test drive.

Set aside a special area for pickup

Mark the pick up location and make it easy to find. Send car buyers clear instructions on where to go and what procedures to expect. Set aside a special location where car buyers can pick up their cars with minimal contact with employees or other customers and make it easy for buyers to drive off the lot after picking up their vehicle. Imagine designing a car pick up experience like a drive-thru, you’re in and out before you even know it. A great pick up experience will increase the likelihood of future test drives and increase recommendations to a friend or family member.

Give a car the best chance to sell with a clean fresh start

Make sure a car gets a thorough cleaning before a buyer picks it up for a test drive. Concerns over cleanliness are more important now than ever and no one wants to pick up a car that has food crumbs or fingerprints from a previous test drive. Make sure the car is as spotless on the inside as it is on the outside, and give the dashboard a quick wipe right before handing off the vehicle to enhance the smell of a freshly detailed car.

Show high-quality photos before seeing the car in person

We’ve mentioned the importance of transparency before in our article “How Carvana became the #1 all-online used car marketplace by showing the ugly”. It’s important that dealers use high-quality photos in their online galleries so that a car buyer’s expectations match what they see in real life when they pick up a car for a test drive. Make sure drivers are not disappointed by an unexpected dent or scratch when they see the car in person. Showing high-quality photos in car galleries will reduce situations where a buyer was disappointed because the car’s appearance did not match their expectations. This reduces wasted test drives and saves the dealership from putting unnecessary miles on their cars. And this also frees up car inventory for other buyers, who have a higher likelihood of purchasing, to schedule test drives instead.

Leverage your curb side pickup programs as call-to-action

Dealers should actively promote and market their test drive programs where ever possible, such as on car detail pages or in advertisements. Focusing on test drive features such as fast & easy pick up or contactless hand-off helps shape a buyer’s thoughts and nudges them to more downstream decisions, bringing buyers closer to making a final purchasing decision. All online car buying is becoming a popular alternative to visiting a dealership in person, and a great test drive program is one way dealers can differentiate themselves even if they have the same inventory.


The automotive industry is quickly transforming, and curbside test drives are just one of the ways that COVID-19 is changing the way that cars are being sold. Want to learn more like how dealers can increase their car detail page views by 349% with better photography? Visit our enterprise automotive page or contact Snappr’s automotive enterprise partnership team.

About the author

Darren Blench
Enterprise Partnerships

Darren Blench leads partnerships for enterprise Automotive clients at Snappr. He has helped dozens of major players in the industry with their content strategy. He is available for a no-obligation consultation about your Automotive photography needs.

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