Key trends in auto remarketing for 2018

Matt Dale, director of G3 Remarketing, shares his opinion as to the key trends that will shape the industry in 2018.

Compare the modern remarketing environment to five years ago and the changes are remarkable – it is not even an exaggeration to say the sector is, on the whole, unrecognisable.

There are some auction houses that continue to exist simply as a platform to sell assets, but brands that have allowed their portfolio of services to stagnate have started to get left behind.

Customer expectations have never been higher, so at the same time as – quite rightly – striving to maintain independence, remarketing partners must now provide a wider spectrum of services. Vendors seek greater support with their movement of stock and buyers want increasingly attractive purchasing options.

Forward-thinking auctions are acknowledging this and remaining fluid in their proposition. They are using tech as an enabler for change, for instance. They are adapting internal skill sets and knowledge to advance their offering, and are continually reinvesting in their future. But they are also recognising that in a business world of mounting consumerisation, customers are driving industry trends. So what will 2018 hold in store?

Greater KPIs

Vendors, if they have not already, will start to impose more stringent KPIs to ensure the remarketing partner liquidates stock as efficiently as possible.

We have long been hearing about big data in different commercial sectors, and statistics will matter like never before for auctions in 2018. If the numbers do not stack up, clients will go elsewhere. Remarketers must therefore provide a range of disposal channels and work hard to consistently get buyers online or in-lane, to maintain those all-important CAP performance and conversion rates. Attractive buyer premiums, marketing efforts and stocking plans that enable the immediate release of cars post-sale will all help in this respect.

De-risked purchases

With tech advancements easing so many elements of our personal and professional lives, it is no surprise that innovation has reshaped what is possible in remarketing.

The more reputable auction houses are now appraising vendors’ inventory in high definition, often with audio commentary and 360° videos to enhance inspection findings. Some stock is now even being sold with augmented mechanical checks to further ease any concerns surrounding the purchase. Remarketers that do not offer this condition clarity will surely see attendee figures dwindle.

Need for consistency

Made possible, again, by technology, auctions must ensure they deliver a consistent customer experience whether a buyer chooses to participate in a physical or digital remarketing environment. One should not be seen as a second-rate choice or last resort, particularly because timings, geography and workloads often dictate what a buyer can feasibly attend in one week or month.

Remarketing partners will therefore need to think carefully about their investment in online sales. Live, high-quality and interactive experiences led by an experienced auctioneer are now a given, but there is a need for more. Buyers will demand applications that sit on their smartphones to ensure a one-to-one owned relationship. They will seek push notifications that keep them informed about lots and updates, in real time, to enhance the convenience and confidence of every purchase. And they will want the flexibility to switch to a vendor profile if they are using the remarketer to liquidate part-exchange vehicles – all without leaving the forecourt.

A state of flux

Remarketers – and their customers – will acknowledge that the market is in a state of flux. Phenomenal new car sales have long dominated the headlines and, while an unsurprising slowdown has been witnessed recently, performance remains relatively strong.

That said, a downturn in used cars has begun to inflate new car prices which, coupled with consumers’ debatable levels of economic confidence, is driving demand for used cars.

Auctions need to remain in tune with these industry trends and pass this insight onto customers. Advice on aligning stock profiles for the changing season, maximising margins during difficult periods, and communicating which cars are selling well at auction, will all translate into greater forecourt activity.

In fact, this relates back to one of the very first points made here. Buyers are demanding more – more profitability, more transparency, more support and more insight.

Remarketers so immersed in the motor industry are therefore incredibly well placed to offer this intelligence.