AM Online

HPI system aids online car sales

Retail groups will soon be able to access an internet-based stock management system that enables them to promote and control used cars online with minimum effort.

HPI Exchange, which goes live at the end of the month, promises to open up the internet by offering retailers a straightforward route to market. As part of the proposition, retailers without an online presence can tap into a generic website programme and tailor the design and content to their own needs.

The company can exploit the data it captures via HPI Check, including specification levels and standard equipment, to produce a comprehensive stock list, according to external affairs director Martin Brassell. “This stock is then uploaded to the HPI Exchange website,” he says. “It can be edited by the dealer, who can add or remove information about each car, and then goes live on their website. The stock can also be promoted through other channels, such as Autotrader.com.”

HPI Exchange has been on trial with Mitsubishi's Red Zebra used-car network since October. Around 100 retailers have been actively using the system with varying levels of input.

Retailers do not have to frequently update their stock lists – a common problem with dealer websites, and one that is off-putting for consumers – because the information links into the HPI's database, which means it can make the necessary amendments. The stock is automatically loaded up to consumer websites, giving it maximum exposure.

“The stock lists can be self-maintained by the dealer or we can cleanse the portfolio for them. The trials with Mitsubishi show that few retailers maintain up-to-date stock lists, so our system has been a big help in keeping their data relevant,” adds Brassell. Exchange will help HPI tie retailers into using its data services – some 14,500 currently subscribe. Dealers do not have to be HPI subscribers, though this makes it easier to manage the information online.

Mid-size and smaller retail groups are likely to be the first to take up the offer, as they have generally invested less money in creating online stock management systems. However, Brassell claims several top groups, including an AM100 top 10 company, are showing an interest.

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