Hatfields first experienced the Autofinity system through its OEM as a Jaguar Land Rover franchised partner whereby its stock locator was utilised by the brand but the family run business with nine locations throughout the north of England and the Midlands, went one stage further rolling out the entire ViHUB system to all its sites earlier this year.
Craig Petty, the group’s sales director, identified speed to market and the ability to update vehicle information, particularly, price and mileage, in one place, which then populates all online channels as well as third party suppliers such as video providers CitNOW, as the key benefits.
He said: “It has put a stop to all the disjointed aspects of vehicle retailing because everything is contained and managed in one place which has also eliminated errors and discrepancies. We now update the price, mileage or vehicle description once in ViHUB rather than multiple times in various different systems.
“Our quality control is now also much more straightforward as we now have complete oversight of all our stock so we can very quickly identify issues such as lack of or not enough imagery.
“ViHUB keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently in a very simple and easy-to-use system.”
One of the most tangible benefits for Hatfields is the ability to push vehicles live to online marketplaces in just a few minutes which has increased speed to market exponentially. Retailing on average 450 vehicles a month through its JLR branded sites and via its all marques used car brand Handpicked by Hatfields, the group is very much focused on ensuring vehicles are offered for sale online in the fastest time possible.
Craig said: “It is just a matter of uploading the vehicle and the ViHUB system does the rest in terms of collating an enhanced vehicle description and then automatically populating all online channels. We no longer have to access websites such as the group’s own, the OEM or the likes of Auto Trader individually because ViHUB provides an automated feed. It takes just a few minutes to put a vehicle live online and it has easily halved the time it would have taken us in the past.”
With so many vehicles to manage, ViHUB has also practically eliminated vehicle data discrepancies such as different prices appearing on multiple online sites, and mileage and vehicle description inconsistencies.
“On a weekly basis, we may have one or two vehicles which are flagged to us due to conflicting information and that’s usually because our DMS can sometimes default to an earlier data set. Before we went live with ViHUB, we were having to manually manage around 45-50 discrepancies a week purely because information was manually updated in several different systems. In turn, that’s saving our sales managers around 10-15 hours of their time double checking various websites to ensure vehicle information is consistent and accurate.”
As a sales director, access to the entire group’s stock, makes understanding performance at any given moment a straightforward task whilst for managers at a dealership level, they too have the information they need to track a vehicle’s status and overall inventory at their fingertips.
Craig said: “If a vehicle has been in stock for seven days and there’s been little interest, for example, we can easily see any issues such as too few images and managers can rectify such matters really quickly.
“Since ViHUB provides us with live information, we have also improved customer satisfaction as there is no danger of someone enquiring about a vehicle which has already sold or reserved.”
Support and development
Craig and his team have a direct line to client support manager Sarah Maxfield who heads up the client support team providing day-to-day assistance to the dealer network utilising the Autofinity system.
He said: “We just pick up the phone to Sarah or one of her team if there is a problem and the reaction is immediate. With tech, you can sometimes hit an issue or someone does something and you need a bit of direction, it doesn’t matter what it is, the team are on it straight away which means any downtime is kept at an absolute minimum.”
Craig also highlights the ongoing evolution and system development as a major benefit of working with Autofinity. He said: “There’s never a feeling that the team are standing still, they are continually looking at ways to enhance the system, develop new features or make tweaks to make the lives of the end users easier. I feel that from a technological perspective, we are continually moving forward together and in a fast-paced environment such as ours, that’s absolutely crucial. I would not hesitate in recommending Autofinity and ViHUB to automotive colleagues.”