Rick Griskie, CIO, ADESA, a Subsidiary of KAR Auction Services, Inc.
Not long ago, car dealers traveled to the nearest auto auction to buy and sell vehicles. If the auction didn’t have what they were looking for—or the right buyers for their inventory—their options were limited.
That was just a few years ago. With the digital transformation the auto auction industry has seen in recent years – it may seem like a lifetime ago. The industry has advanced light years in a short time in the way buyers find, appraise and buy vehicles.
These days, dealers in San Francisco can buy cars in Chicago in real-time—from their desktop or mobile device—and have the vehicles shipped directly to them with the click of a button. Dealers now receive personalized recommendations and can search for vehicles in multiple lanes and auctions simultaneously.
These technology innovations add up to an exciting time for the automotive remarketing industry. The in-lane, digital and mobile buying experience for car buyers is rapidly converging. At ADESA, we’re leveraging a hybrid cloud strategy to deliver cutting-edge auction technology and a robust digital marketplace to customers.
Like many other industries, auto auctions have quickly evolved. Customers’ buying preferences have shifted more to online each year.
Five years ago, about a third of sales were conducted online at ADESA; now it’s exceeding 50 percent and climbing.
To meet customers’ needs and stay at the forefront of the industry revolution, auction software must offer an easy-to-use online experience. Some of the latest auction live-buying platforms now have responsive, user-friendly designs that allow car buyers to bid in a nearly unlimited number of auction lanes.
This platform provides dealer customers with vehicle condition reports, including detailed photos, so buyers have the information they need to make appraisals at their fingertips. Customers can use on-screen VIN barcodes with a valuation app of their choosing.
The digital transformation is also creating a nimbler user experience. The load times on the search results page on ADESA, for example, improved from a few seconds to a few hundred milliseconds. The next-generation natural language search capability can return thousands of vehicle results in less than a second.
Auctions now can use data science to provide vehicle purchase recommendations specific to individual dealers based on what their customers are searching for, their lot needs and market demands. This includes recommendations for best market pricing, best venue to sell a vehicle and computerized damage estimates. This will completely change how dealers find, appraise and buy cars online now and in the future.
Technology has also opened the door to providing a safer auction experience for car buyers. ADESA, for example, can host a live, in-lane auction experience that creates a safe, virtual marketplace for customers at auction locations. Instead of driving vehicles through the auction lanes, big-screen monitors show dealers the vehicles and their details during bidding. The cars never leave their parking spots during the sale to ensure a safe experience at auction.
This brings together the best aspects of in-lane and online buying. Dealers can access detailed condition reports, photos, vehicle history and valuation tools for vehicles ahead of the sale. Before bidding starts, customers can view vehicles in person while they’re parked in the auction lot.
This digital transformation is leading an industry evolution by anticipating the needs of sellers and buyers. Combining the very best technologies and techniques leads to a remarketing experience that is intuitive, efficient and transparent. Customers can focus on serving their customer base, growing their business and spending less time sourcing inventory.