Profit at risk as nearly half of retailers add wrong spec to adverts due to inaccurate vehicle data
Auto Trader has launched a powerful new stock management solution to all retailers, designed to remove some of the biggest pain points for both consumers and retailers alike. Auto Trader Connect utilises the full scale of Auto Trader’s data capabilities, enabling retailers to update multiple back-end and consumer facing systems with advanced vehicle data in real-time. Marking a first for the industry, it ensures consistency and accuracy with minimal effort whilst maximising vehicle margin and dramatically improving the consumer online experience in the process.
The product has been live with 325 customers over the course of 12 months who have seen the very real benefits of improved efficiency and profits per unit on their business. However, the first phase of the solution, Retail Essentials, will be included in all standard advertising packages from next year, with early access from 1st December 2021.
When data isn’t shared between systems in real-time, selling channels can quickly become out of sync, resulting in inconsistencies in key details, as well as incorrectly advertising vehicles that are either no longer in stock or have already been sold. Inaccurate information can lead to frustration and a poor customer experience. As more consumers look to complete more of the car buying process online, this pain point is only set to become more acute.
Commenting, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Commercial Product Director, said: “The retail landscape is evolving incredibly quickly, and with it, consumer expectations have never been higher. In such a competitive and complex market, it’s critical for retailers to offer an exceptional online retail experience - failure to do so could mean the difference between a sale and losing out to a competitor.
“As well as alleviating a major pain point for consumers, utilising the full extent of our data to connect multiple systems in real-time will massively improve efficiency, enabling retailers of all sizes to not only respond to changes in the market as they happen, but also free them up to focus on selling more cars and making more profit.”
Errors and inconsistencies across sales channels are often the result of retailers having to manually update and rekey the same detail across multiple systems. This might include - but not limited to - their dealer management system (DMS), stock management system, valuation systems, local website and group websites, as well as their Auto Trader Portal account. With Auto Trader Connect, retailers are able to create and manage their stock within their current stock management system, which then seamlessly connects and syncs across all other systems. It not only ensures consistency, but also massively reduces time and effort.
Robins & Day’s Lean Process Improvement Manager, David Male, commented on how Auto Trader Connect is improving efficiency across the business: “This enables us to manage our full stock journey in one system, whether that is at the point of bringing a vehicle into stock or managing our retail stock on the forecourt with auto pricing functionality. We are able to manage this in real time in one system removing wasted effort.”
This real-time connectivity is also critical for retailers to be able to respond to an exceptionally fast-moving retail market. Traditionally, DMS data feeds run at rigidly scheduled - and usually limited - times of the day. Whether they want to make price adjustments, amend a mistake or to remove a vehicle once it’s been sold, retailers often have to wait hours before their feeds are updated, potentially resulting in frustrated consumers, missed sales opportunities, and reduced margins. Auto Trader Connect’s real-time link between systems enables changes to be made and shared across key selling-channels instantly.
Paul Richards, the owner of Crompton Way Motors, which has been using Auto Trader Connect for the last six months, explained why this is such a vital feature for his business: “In a nutshell it saves our business time and improves profit per unit. We operate on a fast turnover so this means we can reprice faster to drive higher margins. It’s also a massive time saver, we’re saving 2-3 hours a day; a full day a week. We also no longer have the frustrating wait for a feed to run; if I want to change a price, correct a mistake or add a new photo, it’s done in an instant, both on Auto Trader and my website.”
Nearly half (45%) of retailers are adding the incorrect vehicle spec into their DMS due to not having access to accurate data. This not only risks misleading the consumer, but also impacts the valuation of the vehicle; potentially driving the price above or below the true retail price and discouraging car buyers in the process. As part of Auto Trader Connect, retailers will have access to Auto Trader’s advanced vehicle taxonomy, enabling them to easily create adverts and manage their stock with up-to-the-minute market data.
The benefit of having accurate data shared in real-time across systems was highlighted by Sean Booth, Manging Director of Parkway Motor Group: “Being connected in real-time to Auto Trader allows us to have all of the data at our fingertips to manage our inventory as accurately as possible. This enables us to advertise vehicles with rich vehicle data, price more accurately to optimise margin and manage them across our Parkway Group website and Auto Trader all from one system in real-time”
Whilst Auto Trader Connect will be included in all standard advertising packages, in order for retailers to benefit from this transformative change in the industry, third party system providers will need to integrate the service into their platforms. Over 40 have either already done so, or are committed to doing so, including many of the leading providers, such as Click Dealer, GForces, Dragon2000, eDynamix Global, Nexus Point, The Whole Caboodle, Chief Mechanic, SalesMaster, Bluesky Interactive and Dealer Kit.
To support retailers in the current fast-moving market, those whose stock management providers have already integrated Auto Trader Connect will be given early access from 1st December. For more information or to request access, retailers can visit https://trade.autotrader.co.uk/auto-trader-connect.
 Auto Trader research Aug 2021: 72% of buyers find online buying appealing, which marks a 10% increase in a year