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How to make sure your dealerships stock the right cars

By Chris Phillips

What do team sports such as football and rugby have in common with used car sales? Quite a lot, according to information specialist Tim Marriott, who looked at how data tracking is used to monitor team and individual player performance during a game and compared it with statistics generated by every used vehicle advertised online.

“Just as a player’s fatigue levels can be monitored by measuring total distance covered, average sprint distance and top speeds, so the online consumer is leaving a trail of data about what vehicles they are looking at – every competitor’s stock list, price changes and days in stock can be tracked in real time, said Marriott, senior product manager with data analytics company Deltapoint.

  NEED TO KNOW

        
♦  Most dealers review stock price and spec daily
Dealerships relying less on monthly books and more on real-time price tracking systems
 
 

Using information from parent company Auto Trader – including analysis of more than 3 million advert hits – Deltapoint’s i-Control stock management system identifies which used cars are selling and which are not with a star rating linked to postcodes, along with daily updates of trade and retail values. As well as pulling in Auto Trader’s website search activity, it incorporates information from BCA’s fleet and lease databank.

BCA, meanwhile, offers Dealer Pro to help dealerships manage vehicle appraisals, reflecting the cross-partnerships of system providers.

“While the fundamentals of purchasing have not changed, information is now much more transparent and dynamic,” said Marriott. It’s yet another example of the way the internet has revolutionised trading, and Marriott pointed to the effect this has had on traditional printed sources.

“Dealerships now have to manage a car throughout its sale life with daily information rather than monthly books,” he said.  

Even Black Book publisher CAP acknowledges this – it  issued a warning earlier this year that its April edition had been “rapidly overtaken by a dipping market trend”.

To overcome the problem of ‘catch-up’ CAP, along with its main book rival Glass’s, offers a ‘real- time’ valuation service.

With sites in Surrey, Sussex and Kent representing eight franchises, Lifestyle Europe has dispensed with paper valuation, opting for systems ranging from CAP (linked to ADP’s Drive dealer management system) to i-Control.

“Website clicks on our stocklist where there is no follow-up usually indicates that the price is too high or the spec is wrong,” said group sales director Paul Murrells.

Each site is responsible for its own stock, reporting weekly to head office on sales. “Prices tend to be influenced first by the local market, then regional, then national, chipping down until there’s a sale, with a stock turn of once a month,” said Murrells.



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