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Aston Barclay’s ‘gamification’ of the auction

Stewart Ford, Aston Barclay group’s IT director

Aston Barclay group has begun its own digital revolution of the remarketing industry with its Buyer App set into introduce an element of “gamification” to the auction house.

The nation’s largest independent remarketing business has officially launched the new app, which is now free to download on the App store in Android or IOS format, with the aim of meeting the needs of buyers who run their business on their smart phone.

The first buyers to use it will be those on hard hat tours of Aston Barclay’s new Donington site which are happening this week.

Phase two will see the Buyer App detecting buyers walking into an auction and sending them a message about relevant stock coming up in that day’s sale. It will also identify buying patterns and flag up similar stock at sales across the group.

Buyers will also have live access to video and audio and the ability to search stock by colour and fuel grade as well as have access to each car’s Aston Barclay and NAMA condition grades.

But Stewart Ford, Aston Barclay group’s IT director, told AM that there was fun to be had from the new product too. During a recent visit to the new Donington Park facility Ford said: “I believe that many people will use the app while at a physical auction and I think there’s an opportunity there.

“I want to attach a colour to each person in the hall so that they know when they are bidding and can see it flash up on the big display screens that we have introduced.

“It might be a novelty for many, and it will certainly introduce a bit of gamification of the process, but it’s also a discreet and efficient way of bidding.”

Buyer research running up to the recent MBO of Aston Barclay from the Scarborough family said that apps were key to helping dealers find the right stock more easily which has been reinforced by the group’s web traffic via mobile devices growing to 48.7% in June 2017, 69.2% via an Apple product.

Ford, formerly of HPI, added: “Our Vendor App is set for launch in December and will enable vendors to target buyers with video message offers and promotions. We believe it’s the first time a physical auction business has hooked up buyers and vendors in this way, while still supporting local customers that just want to turn up and buy cars.”

Commenting on the launch, Aston Barclay chief executive, Neil Hodson, said: “We have bridged the gap between the physical auction and the mobile space; connecting our buyers and sellers like never before and helping them to source and sell more vehicles, more effectively.

“Aston Barclay is driving the future of the remarketing industry with leading technology and by building unique and exceptional customer journeys through every part of our business.”

The group’s digital initiatives are being extended across all physical sites with “Mega screens” being installed to show the sale’s running order as well as providing exposure for vendor branding and buyer offers and incentives.

Digital pods are being installed in the auction halls, the first in July in Westbury, to enable buyers to search for stock from across the group and to check on provisional bids.

To maximise the technology buy-in “digital eagles” are being appointed at each branch to work with buyers on how best to use the app.

The group’s digital journey started back in 2015 when it launched its own Cloud based Single Core Auction Management system which has speeded up the current App launch programme.

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