Peter Vardy-backed Silver Bullet is targeting “market saturation” across the globe with its end-to-end online car retail platform which allows dealers to interact with car buyers around the clock.
Attracting interest from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, the Glasgow-based tech start-up already claims to be boosting used car profit-per-unit at Peter Vardy by £300, with an average finance penetration of 80% via its fully integrated platform.
And with two more AM100 retail groups set top adopt Silver Bullet’s car search, part-exchange, finance, and purchasing process early in the New Year, managing director John Law believes the time is right for such a product to make inroads into the sector.
“Peter Vardy has invested in us but the group has seen the results in their sales and that’s why he is really starting to champion what we’re doing. It’s exactly what customers want and it really works on a business level too,” he said.
Silver Bullet’s software is helping automotive retail catch up fast with other industries that offer comprehensive personalised shopping experiences around the clock.
Development of the system started nine months ago and Law – previously Lookers digital director and driver of the Volkswagen Group UK Digital Strategy – visited Cox Automotive in Atlanta to gain initial insight into the customer journey, he said.
“Brett Pomerantz (Cox’s senior director, digital retailing product portfolio) gave us an insight, from their point of view, on what customers are expecting and then did some testing with customers to see that we were delivering was what they wanted,” he said.
“At the heart of the platform is ease of integration with dealers existing systems and CMS and simplification, at both the dealer and consumer journey end.”
Law talks of the successful integration of EnquiryMAX and Fast Track customer contact systems to ensure that online retail customers can be subsequently contacted for aftersales and future finance offers
The often sticky subject of part-exchanges is overcome through integration with car retailers’ existing relationships with Cap or Cox Automotive Price and Go or BCA, for valuations, he added.
“We’ll ask the retail group who they use and integrate that platform into our systems,” said Law.
“Consumers will input their cars make, age and mileage and, as long as they are honest, we can offer a guaranteed valuation there and then. Online valuations are carried out with and underwritten by Manheim.”
Law said that new car retailing and a parts and aftersales function for the Silver Bullet Platform would be introduced in Q1, 2019, before sharing his hopes for the growth of the Rockar-rivalling online retail platform.
He said: “We have already had interest from car retailers in New Zealand and Australia, as well as far closer to home in the UK and Germany.
“I wouldn’t say that we have any targets as such, but market saturation could be quickly achieved because the application of the process is fairly straightforward.
“What does temper the pace of growth is that we want to do things right. We’re currently in the process of recruiting more developers and customer success managers, who will ensure that customers get the best out of the product.
“The last thing we want to do is roll-out too quickly and not be able to offer our clients the support to back them up.”
One early adopter who has already seen positive results as a result of the Silver Bullet online retail software is, Peter Vardy, chief executive of The Vardy Group. He said: “Sales managed through Silver Bullet are delivering impressive figures of a circa £300 increase in gross profit per unit when compared to offline transactions in-store.
“With the time saved in managing transactions, our Sales Executives are able to deal with more customers and sell more cars.
“We’re also noticing an increase in distance sales leads together with a far more qualified, relaxed and empowered customer entering our showrooms to complete their vehicle purchase.”