The pace of change in the UK used car market has been extraordinary over the last few years. The global pandemic has accelerated consumer confidence in buying vehicles online while causing ongoing issues with the manufacture and supply of new vehicles. At the same time, heavily backed, new online entrants have swept up huge volumes of used vehicles in the wholesale market.
And, as if this weren’t enough, the switch to electric vehicles has created a whole new segment in the used car market, with dealers left playing catch-up on how best to fulfil its needs.
Consumers are also better informed today than ever, with access to limitless online information they can use when buying a used car. Similarly, the amount of choice available to customers has also exploded in terms of how and where to buy.
This all points to a need for agility in vehicle sourcing, stock management, marketing, sales, and customer experience. In this article, we’ll look at how used car dealers are becoming nimbler and how new technologies are helping.
Dealer to dealer trading
The retail car market moves quickly and never sleeps; buyers and sellers are active 24/7, and transactions can occur in the blink of an eye. The idea that the wholesale market should be any different seems outdated. Why should vehicle trading between dealers or dealerships within the same group be any less agile than the retail market?
The growing number of online wholesale marketplaces allow dealers to research vehicles, connect with trade sellers and transact quickly and securely at any time.
The best platforms go beyond providing an online auction facility and actively promote new connections between wholesale buyers and sellers. As with other online marketplaces, the ability to provide feedback to and rate traders makes it quicker to select new partners and begin trading with them.
Relationships with other dealers are crucial, particularly for independents, in accessing the vehicle stock they need and remaining competitive against bigger businesses.
Defining your network
Taking control of how widely you cast your wholesale buying net is a key part of dealer decision-making. Do you stick with a limited number of trusted partners or draw on an entire marketplace to access a broader range of buying options? In today’s market, and with online wholesale trading, the latter is becoming much more commonplace.
However, the best digital solutions allow the dealer to determine whether they want to trawl the entire marketplace or restrict their search to a narrower range of suppliers, depending on their preferences and specific requirements.
Never miss an attractive vehicle
Used car dealers are busy people, and any time that can be saved in sourcing vehicles is more time that can be spent selling. Online wholesale marketplaces that allow dealers to set up alerts for vehicles that meet their requirements mean that they can safely focus on other aspects of running their business without the fear of missing out on vehicles that they need.
The more sophisticated the search filters available in the platform, the more useful the alert system, and the more agile trading becomes. The days of spending hours at physical auctions or on the phone securing used vehicle deals would seem to be numbered.
Linking with stock management
Online stock management systems are now commonplace in the used car dealer world and can bring a wide range of benefits to the business, including:
Giving a clear understanding of the location, condition, value and sales status of every vehicle in stock
Providing accurate stock information to the sales team and customers using online sales channels
Delivering insights on the best performing categories of vehicles and changing customer preferences
Providing creditors, particularly stock-funders, and regulators, with confidence through regular audits and up-to-date management information
However, the effectiveness of any stock management system is limited by the quality of the data that gets put into it. With traditional vehicle acquisition methods, this can mean time-consuming manual data input, with the inaccuracies and opportunities for human error and fraud that go along with that.
Good online vehicle sourcing channels provide the opportunity to export data directly to the stock management system, ensuring that every car acquired is accounted for and the information about them is complete and up to date.
Streamlining and safeguarding this part of the stock management process means much greater control as vehicle turnaround times shrink.
Setting team boundaries
If vehicle sourcing responsibilities fall to more than one individual within the business, then it’s important to monitor and control the transactions they are making. Good digital acquisition platforms have the advantage that every purchase is recorded against the employee that made the deal.
This not only means that there is a clear audit trail for all purchase decisions but that managers can track the performance of the individuals responsible and react rapidly to any issues.
The pressure to act quickly when sourcing vehicles and securing sales opportunities is not going to ease, and the most successful dealers will be those agile enough to cope with the new demands. Luckily, there are now tools available that can help transform the wholesale side of the business, allowing the retail operation to perform at its optimum.
MOTOM’s recently launched vehicle remarketing app is specifically designed to make wholesale trades as efficient and rapid as possible. Discover more about buying or selling via this technology platform dedicated to wholesale trading.