Physical auctions in the UK have remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. The process of sourcing, moving and auctioning vehicles comes from another era at odds with today’s technology driven digital world.
Online digital remarketing is the fastest, easiest, smartest and most cost-effective way for vendors to realise the best possible returns on depreciating assets. It significantly reduces the total cost of disposal accrued by unsold vehicles parked in compounds for days and weeks.
For dealers it is the most expedient way to source stock, when it suits them and from the comfort of their showrooms.
But we as an industry are only at the start of an evolving technology led remarketing journey which will transform the way cars are remarketed over the next five years and beyond.
Advances in online remarketing have been helped by our experiences as digital consumers, where immediacy is everything. Dealers are time poor which is why many are happy to swap the prospect of spending time out of the business, viewing cars in distant halls, to accessing them online whenever they like.
We are also seeing the emergence of a new generation of tech-savvy decision makers in dealerships, especially used car buyers, who are more comfortable with a digital-first approach and are challenging the traditional processes.
The biggest game changer will be the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the auction world. Machine learning technology has already changed the way we shop online, with AI at the heart of Amazon’s recommendation engine and Alexa service.
As an industry we have begun to embrace the smart digital revolution. AI technology has started to infiltrate all facets but we are focused on the vehicle inspection process. The traditional third-party inspection is slow and expensive. AI empowers drivers to carry out their own inspection of company cars, or funded vehicles, nearing end of contract, using a smartphone or tablet, with vehicles posted online within hours of being appraised.
In the future AI’s marriage with data will prove to be a game-changer by transforming the vendor and buyer experience. Data will drive the curation of content and increase sales with new levels of personalisation facilitating stock recommendations based on previous purchases. Dealers will no longer miss out on the cars they want or need for their customer base – it will be served right to them.
Looking beyond the next five years, there’s every reason to expect AI-based Augmented Reality (AR) services to appear in the remarketing sector, with buyers able to walk around and inspect de-fleeted cars remotely, using their mobiles.
Early forms of this technology is already here and being utilised by Instagram and Snapchat to enhance photographs and videos. While in the automotive sector OEMs have embraced AR and are working on cutting-edge applications for future generation cars.
This is an exciting time for the online remarketing sector as it emerges as the default route to market for defleeted and end of contract vehicles. Change will come quickly and be far reaching as technology is deployed to better serve the needs of vendors, dealers and end customers.
This digital-first approach will replace analogue thinking and transform the way vehicles are remarketed in the UK.