Dealer Groups – How Well Do You Know Your Dealer Group Stock?

“When we first take a dealer’s stock feed, often, it is like Swiss cheese. Full of holes” – Andy Whitehair, Autofinity CEO.

To enable dealer groups to visualise the potential holes as a result of operating several disparate systems, we often lay down the challenge to senior management teams to answer questions such as these:-

  • Do you know the exact number of vehicles currently held by your group in stock?
  • Do you know what your stock status, such as, location or if it’s undergoing preparation or if it’s on the forecourt?
  • Is a particular vehicle booked for a test drive, has a vehicle been sold or a deposit placed online?
  • Is a vehicle’s price consistent across all online marketing channels?
  • Do you know what a vehicle’s asset price is compared to its retail price?
  • Is the vehicle description accurate and consistent wherever it is advertised?
  • Is the vehicle’s description as rich and attractive as it could be?
  • Can you retrieve that information from your system and be confident it is one hundred percent accurate?

With individual dealerships operating a multitude of OEM, group and legacy systems, achieving such consistency across the group is an impossibility without a system such as ours. So, we would say that, of course, but ask yourself this, ‘are you able to create a Single View of the Truth by integrating with otherwise disparate systems and collate one silo of information for each vehicle held your group stock?’. Chances are, that’s a ‘no’, or, at the very least, ‘I don’t know’.

Andy Whitehair – “Most dealers would respond to those questions by saying the information is in the DMS but the DMS won’t tell them where the car is, if a test drive is booked, if an enquiry came in last night about that vehicle, how that car is being marketed or even if the car is being marketed at all.”

By deploying a consultancy approach, we identify the ‘rules of engagement’ each dealer group wants to establish around stock information data. Our platforms devise checks to ensure information inputted meets the standard specified and holds the information in one place.

We have had instances when a dealer believes all the information the likes of Auto Trader requires has been inputted and the vehicle is live on the platform when in fact, something has been overlooked so Auto Trader’s system does not upload the vehicle to its marketplace. The vehicle can sit in limbo for days before someone realises it is not being marketed on one of the most important used car selling platforms for the sector. Our system would immediately create an alert so the problem can be rectified.

When discrepancies have been identified and holes plugged, our system creates a central reservoir of information and by integrating with the variety of systems operated by the group, ensures all these disparate systems only draw their information from one, clean source which is constantly replenished as our system gathers richer and richer information about any one vehicle.

Andy Whitehair – “We talk about the speed to market and if the reservoir is full, our system can better feed all the dealer’s marketing channels with the richest and most accurate information about that vehicle. In turn, the vehicle is able to bloom online boosting its chances of being picked by a would-be car buyer.”

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