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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Building Your Online Auto Auction

When you decided to take your business online, was it to satisfy the requirements of a consigner? Did you feel that you needed to change with the times? Or did you outline a new segment for growth, develop a plan, and are currently monitoring online profit and loss statements as we speak?
If you are among the majority, your response is probably the first or second selection. Many brick-and-mortar auto auctions began with a good intention to provide more solutions for their customers, but when they decided to take their business online, they forgot to create an online business. Simulcast was seen as a novelty item, and the perception was, if people want to come online, they will. There was no need to market. In fact, there was actually a fear that, by telling dealers you had live simulcast, they would clear the lanes, and only appear on the Internet.
Discouraging online attendance became more of the objective than attracting new online customers. Auctioneers would override Internet bids, demonstrating their partiality to the floor. Their usual response to this practice was, "I am going to back the guy who got in his car and drove here today!" However, the online business was not designed to accommodate lazy dealers. It was designed to allow the auction a virtual expansion into other geographic markets. It was designed as a revenue-generating opportunity, not merely a 'value-add'.
With higher monthly expenses attributed to online operations, Owners and General Managers seem to find themselves becoming a little more interested in how their business could benefit from putting some effort into their online sale. They are finally asking, "What can we do?" The simple answer is..."find your customer base, and earn their trust". Ok, I have obviously left out some minor detail here, but I couldn't reveal all the trade secrets in one little blog.
Now I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts, questions, experience, or any other general feedback you might have!

Kelly Bianchi, President & Founder