By Nick Carey
DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – After years of being part of a future that never quite arrived, the coronavirus pandemic has put U.S. online car sellers on the map.
Now comes a race to spend vast sums on digital commerce platforms specifically designed to handle auto sales. Without deep pockets, many startups and others trying to join the online game will likely be left in the dust.
“The big three (auto) e-commerce players will grow substantially, but it will be hard to be a new entrant,” said Toby Russell, joint chief executive officer of Shift, which will go public to join rival Carvana <CVNA.N> and Vroom <VRM.O> later this quarter.
“The pay to play on this thing is in the hundreds of millions and the early journey is hard, especially building out the technology,” Russell said.
Online sales still only account for around 1% of the roughly