Auto Trader is aiming to drive efficiencies for car dealers with a new stock management system which it claims will remove many of the biggest pain points in vehicle marketing.
The automotive marketplace says the Auto Trader Connect solution will deliver a "massive boost in efficiency" and "the end of laborious rekeying" as it enables its dealer users to create adverts in one space, their current stock management system, and sync them across multiple systems.
Auto Trader said errors and inconsistencies across sales channels are often the result of retailers having to manually update and rekey the same detail across multiple systems, such as their dealer management system (DMS), stock management system, valuation systems, local website and group websites, as well as their Auto Trader Portal account.
When data isn’t shared between systems in real-time, selling channels can quickly become out of sync, resulting in inconsistencies in key details, as well as incorrectly advertising vehicles that are either no longer in stock or have already been sold.
The risks of inaccurate information include frustrated or disappointed prospective buyers or even customers who've bought a vehicle that doesn't meet their expectations.
Auto Trader Connect has already been live with 325 retailers who, Auto Trader says, have seen real improvements in efficiency and profit per unit.
Bolton-based independent used car dealer Crompton Way Motors has been using Auto Trader Connect for the last six months. Owner Paul Richards (pictured) said: “In a nutshell it saves our business time and improves profit per unit. We operate on a fast turnover so this means we can reprice faster to drive higher margins.
"It’s also a massive time saver, we’re saving 2-3 hours a day; a full day a week. We also no longer have the frustrating wait for a feed to run; if I want to change a price, correct a mistake or add a new photo, it’s done in an instant, both on Auto Trader and my website.”
Sean Booth, managing director of AM100 retailer Parkway Motor Group, which has also trialled the system, added: "Being connected in real-time to Auto Trader allows us to have all of the data at our fingertips to manage our inventory as accurately as possible.
"This enables us to advertise vehicles with rich vehicle data, price more accurately to optimise margin and manage them across our Parkway Group website and Auto Trader, all from one system in real-time."
Next year Auto Trader will include the first phase, known as Retail Essentials, in all standard advertising packages. Access to this starts on December 1, where dealers' third party systems have integration already.
Auto Trader said more than 40 have either already done so, or are committed to doing so, including many of the leading providers, such as Click Dealer, GForces, Dragon2000, eDynamix Global, Nexus Point, The Whole Caboodle, Chief Mechanic, SalesMaster, Bluesky Interactive and Dealer Kit.
Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s commercial product director, said: “The retail landscape is evolving incredibly quickly, and with it, consumer expectations have never been higher.
"In such a competitive and complex market, it’s critical for retailers to offer an exceptional online retail experience - failure to do so could mean the difference between a sale and losing out to a competitor.
“As well as alleviating a major pain point for consumers, utilising the full extent of our data to connect multiple systems in real-time will massively improve efficiency, enabling retailers of all sizes to not only respond to changes in the market as they happen, but also free them up to focus on selling more cars and making more profit.”
This development comes just months after Auto Trader launched a part-exchange incentive scheme to encourage motorists to trade-in their cars and boost stocks for retailers who have been struggling to fill their forecourts due to low levels of new car sales which typically generate part-exchange stock.