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Vehicle remarketers must be strong partners to dealers in 2018 to secure long-term survival - a guest opinion

Matt Dale, joint director and co-founder of Leeds-headquartered G3 Remarketing

2018 will be a year of relationship building for savvy remarketers – of positioning themselves as helpful, informative and strong partners to dealers.

My prediction is that those who look after their dealers – making customer service a priority, offering advice and education, and investing in the right technology – will in turn secure their longer-term survival.

The sector continues to move fast and as the new year unfolds, there is no doubt that car auction brands will have to do even more to maintain both footfall and stock conversion levels.

2017 was a mixed year with consumer confidence and debt fears reported to have been the reasons for a fall in Auto Trader share prices, yet a feared glut of such vehicles was unfounded and average revenues per forecourt actually increased.

So dealers, too, can be successful in 2018 – but they will be looking for more from their remarketers to help them to make optimum purchases and achieve the right margins.

Working smarter, not just harder, will be remarketers’ key to survival.

This is good news for dealers who can expect to see those remarketers endeavouring to provide the best possible service.

Savvy remarketers will be trying hard to be strong partners to dealers, helping them to aggressively purchase or liquidate part exchanges, and ensure they achieve excellent service levels, regardless of a customer’s size or purchasing power.

The ones who are proactively supporting dealers with margin maximisation will do well in 2018 and this will include keeping buyer premiums at a reasonable level.

As dealers become more adept at understanding the profile of stock transacting in their local territory, remarketers must ensure they are positioned to offer those vehicles to trade buyers anywhere in the UK, at the right price, via physical and online auction channels, if they are to harness this demand.

Therefore the embracing of technology will further separate winners and losers in 2018.

A growing number of dealers want to scroll through vehicles on their smartphones rather than stroll around them in-hall and that thirst for convenience is only going to accelerate.

This means the forward-thinking remarketers are streamlining their websites, offering live chat and launching buyer apps – all features designed to help busy dealers to confidently and conveniently manage their stock from the comfort of their own forecourts.

The ability to filter cars of interest, create customised baskets as soon as those cars hit the gate, receive push notifications highlighting mileage, gradings and guide values, and even make proxy bids, is increasingly attractive to many.

Equally intuitive vendor apps are being revealed to strengthen the communication between buyer and seller and rostrum apps are even in the pipeline too.

Plus, technology-enhanced appraisal processes complete with audio reports, high-definition images and video, and even mechanical assurance checks are now being offered by some remarketers as standard.

However, choice is vital and will be for the foreseeable future. Some buyers will always prefer the physical auction environment to see the vehicles, spend time networking and experience the thrill of bagging their bargains in person. Remarketers should not overlook this if they’re to maintain conversion levels.

Finally, auctions must make sure dealers know just what good partners they can be. Telling them about the benefits that auctions can bring, with quick and efficient access to the right stock, and staging pre-sale seminars with guest speakers and briefings about matters such as changing legislation, will further build those relationships and encourage repeat business.

At times it may be tough, but smart remarketers who are hungry for success in 2018 will achieve it.

Author: Matt Dale (pictured), joint director and co-founder of Leeds-headquartered G3 Remarketing

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